Chinese contemporary art has made its way to Jacksonville. The J. Johnson Gallery has put on a vast exhibition of beautiful works by Chinese artists, aptly titled Contemporary China. The pieces are all meant to illustrate to the viewer how far Chinese art has come since the days of Mao Zedong's rule.
The exhibition showcases the works of notable artists, such as Qi Zhilong, Zhang Dali, Zhang Xiogang and the Luo brothers. Each artist brings to attention a different aspect of Chinese art. For example, Zhang's AK-47 reflects on the censored political and social climate of 1970s Chinese culture. On the other hand, the Luo brothers' Untitled A & B pieces show China as a nation that has traded away its culture for commercialism due to the reforms it experienced in the 1980s.
Chinese art has made its way into the international art scene very subtly in the last two decades. The most prominent event leading to the popularity of Chinese contemporary art was the appearance of several artists' work in 1989 at a Paris art exhibition. After the need for realist propaganda ended with Mao's death in 1976, Chinese art began to broaden its scope of style. Dada became prominent in China, and Surrealism followed shortly after. All of the pieces use abstract styles and ideas to portray their messages. All of the pieces seem to make similar statements about their country’s culture and way of life. Each piece states that China has been influenced by the last four decades of turbulent change.
Contemporary China should not be missed by locals looking to get first-hand exposure to some fantastic and original artwork. Each work leaves both a socio-political and an artistic impression on the viewer. Very rarely will art from such an interesting and complex land like China be available for public viewing. Contemporary China will be viewable at the J. Johnson Gallery from February 6 until March 26.