10 Chinese Artists you Should Know

Liu Bolin, Instant Noodles, 2013
Liu Bolin, Istant Noodles, 2013

China is a breeding ground for contemporary artists, and visionaries have continued to conquer the art market over the past two decades. Sometimes provocative, sometimes playful, but never lacking in inspiration; their works are constantly surprising us. Here is a list of 10 Chinese artists that you should definitely know about. Whether renowned or emerging, you shouldn’t miss their latest creations.

1) Ai WeiWei

Ai WeiWei Fuck
Ai WeiWei, Fuck

He doesn’t need presenting: 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 the injustice in the world. 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 Weiwei it is because his art sticks to current events and to the world that surround us.


Liu Bolin, Balloon, 2012
Liu Bolin, Balloon, 2012

All his photographs capture him completely painted, blending into the 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, Liu Bolin showed off his talent working with the Brand Moncler for their Spring-Summer 2017 campaign.


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.


Portrait of Xu Zhen, Adrien Bernard
Portrait of Xu Zhen, 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 creates 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 Louis 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!


Fen Kaixuan, Coffee Filter 91-s
Fen Kaixuan, Filtre à café 91-s

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 theatre, during a four-act dance spectacle, body painting, calligraphy and performance. Don’t miss her performances where she does calligraphy by applying ink to a huge canvas using her hair as a brush.

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