China is a fabulous breeding ground for contemporary artists, who have conquered the market of art in the 2000s. Sometimes provocative, sometimes players, but never lacking inspiration, their creations are constantly surprising us. For this Chinese New Year, Artsper offers you a non-exhaustive selection of Chinese artist that you should follow, whether renowned or emerging artist, you should not miss their latest creations.
#1 AI WEIWEI : THE MOST ENGAGED
Copyright © Ai Weiwei
He does not need presentation: Ai Weiwei is one of the most famous Chinese contemporary artist in the world. In the first period of his artistic life. Ai Weiwei largely discuss the power of Beijing, and defy the threads of the authorities and has paid the price. Today exiled in Berlin, Ai Weiwei continues his artistic struggle against what he considers an injustice: In this case, the fate imposed by the European powers to the refugees who use the Mediterranean’s migration route. Several trips to Lesbos have inspired his shocking pieces. Specially his a photograph of himself lying face down on a beach, a position that evoked the death of the little Aylan, who was only three years old, found a year ago, on a Turkish beach. This news touched many people back then: with his shocking image, Ai Weiwei remind us that punctual emotion is not enough, and calls for more solidarity. Among his other highly engaged creations is an installation made up of 14000 life jackets of the migrants who arrived to the Greek Island of Lesbos, hung on the facade of a theater in Berlin. If we follow Ai Weiwie it is because his art sticks to current events and to the world that surround us.
#2 LIU BOLIN : THE LEAST VISIBLE
Copyright © Liu Bolin
All his photographs capture him completely painted, blending in any setting…. Liu Bolin is the least visible among the most famous Chinese artists in the world. His love of disappearance and camouflage was born of a tendency in Chinese society: That of ignoring the individual. A tendency that touched Liu Bolin in 2005, when his studio in the village of Suo Jiacun in Beijing was destroyed as part of a restructuring move in preparation for the Olympic games of 2008. Since then, the artist has expanded his approach to all decors, whether in China or in major European cities like Brussels. Last year, he organized a performance in front of the Pyramid of the Louvre, at that time he was also camouflaged by French artist JR. This year, we follow Liu Bolin as he shows his talent working for the Brand Moncler for their Spring-Summer 2017 campaign.
#3 REN HANG : THE MOST PROVOCATIVE
Copyright © Ren Hang
Just like Ai Weiwei and Liu Bolin, the reaction and provocation towards the Chinese regime is palpable in the work of Ren Hang. However, he expresses it another way. In reaction to the Chinese conservative society, Ren Hang plays with nudity, the body and gender. But his approach is aesthetic: In his analog pictures the bodies are also poetry and subtlety. Ren Hang’s work has been censored in numerous Chinese galleries but that has not prevented his success in Europe. His work was presented at the FIAC in 2014, Ren Hang is a rising artist, and he is rising fast.
#4 WANG HAIYANG : THE MOST LIVELY
Vidéo: Freud, Fish and Butterfly Copyright © Wang Haiyang
Only thirty-two years old, this young artist goes beyond the codes of contemporary Chinese art, often social and engaged. His painting is interior, it reveals the anxiety of his subconscious and his buried desires. He represents himself metamorphosed in imaginary scenes which challenges the visual and emotional comfort of the viewer. His oneiric pieces come close to surrealism and since some years take the form of videos, real animated paintings that require unlimited patience, since the final video is the product of multiple images of the same drawing. This year, this Chinese artist who is gradually constructing his path to success will be present at the Animation Festival in Annecy, which will take place from June 12 to 17, 2017.
#5 XU ZHEN : THE MOST COMPLETE
Portrait de Xu Zhen, Copyright © Adrien Bernard
A multi-faceted artist, Xu Zhen is one of the big names of Chinese contemporary art. If we follow him, is because after he started exhibiting, the artist has been regularly changing subject and mediums. He does videos that look like commercials or documentaries, traditional ceramics with mutant forms, abstract paintings, figurative frescoes and soft fabric sculptures are just some examples of his eclecticism. During his presence at the Vuitton Foundation in 2016, the artist presented a monumental sculpture composed of a bodhisattva topped with a replica of the ancient statue “ The victory of Samothrace”. We are impatient for his next craziness!
#6 FENG KAIXUAN : THE MOST FRENCH ONE
Filtre à café 91-s, Copyright © Fen Kaixuan
A performer, photographer and painter, Feng Kaixuan, has been living in France since 2006. With her coffee filters transformed in Chinese fan-shaped prints, the artist constructs bridges between traditional and contemporary Chinese art. The object of consumption becomes an artwork under the traces of the artist’s china ink, as a subtle question about the sense of art. Feng Kaixuan is constantly updating her practice, she recently tried contemporary theater, during a four-act dance spectacle, body painting, calligraphy and performance. Do not miss her performances where she does calligraphy by applying ink with her hair on huge canvases.