Current Issue #488

Chinese Video Artists Prove the World is Not Flat at Artspace

Chinese Video Artists Prove the World is Not Flat at Artspace

The Adelaide Festival Centre and Sydney’s China Cultural Centre join forces to once again present a Chinese contemporary art exhibition, this year featuring 14 young Chinese contemporary video artists for the exhibition The World is Not Flat.

“There has already been a lot of knowledge and understanding of traditional Chinese culture,” says Zhao Li, director of the China Cultural Centre. “It is instrumental and interesting to showcase the most updated image of China today through contemporary art, especially through the work of creative emerging young artists.”

The artists featured in the exhibition have been selected through the prestigious Art Nova 100 Program. Curator, Liu Yiping: “We went through all the documents of our artists involved with Art Nova 100 in the past six years, and those who have been selected have a unique personal style, and deliver a clear message in their artworks.”

Feng Wei, fragments of veras daily life animation. (video screenshot)

The exhibition is based on notions explored in Thomas L. Friedman’s bestseller The World
is Flat (2005). The book analyses globalisation in the 21st century, viewing the world as a level playing field in terms of commerce, where all competitors are equal. Video work is the obvious medium with a somewhat universal language.

“She makes herself the female figure as part of the moving image, which expresses a mixed feeling of power and femininity,” curator Chen Lin says. “Her work represents the wisdom and hard-working Chinese culture.”

Through his video Enjoying or Confusing, Liang Hao reflects on issues related to globalisation by exploring language and communication. He recorded conversations with 10 artists from different countries on random topics. The artists speak to others who cannot understand their mother languages but the conversations continue even though they can’t understand each other. Hao hasn’t provided any commentary or translation leaving it for the audience to decide whether it’s ‘enjoying’ or confusing.

Cai Yuanhe, The art becomes more poetic while the world becomes more fierce ((video screenshots)

While there are no clear borders in art, the way the audience views artworks is often shaped by cultural backgrounds. “We are showing Western audiences the works by 14 Chinese artists, and want to know what messages they can take from the exhibition,” Yiping says. “We want to compare the different values and views between Western and Eastern, as well as from the different regions in China.”

This initiative between the China Cultural Centre and Adelaide Festival Centre continues to strengthen Australia’s cultural engagement with China. Li: “Cultural and people-to-people connections can help boost mutual trust and friendship to ensure a healthy and sustained development of relations in all fields.”

The World is Not Flat: Chinese Contemporary Video Art Exhibition
Artspace Gallery, Adelaide Festival Centre
Wednesday, February 15 To Sunday, March 19

Header image: Bai Lei, Gestalt. (video screenshot)

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