Seven years after the opening of Chambers Fine Art in New York in 2000, Christophe W. Mao is pleased to announce the opening of Chambers Fine Art in Beijing on September 20th. Opening at a time when the interest in contemporary Chinese was becoming an international phenomenon, Chambers Fine Art became one of the primary showcases for the work of a wide range of Chinese artists in the United States. As the art world has become increasingly globalized in the last seven years, the significance of Beijing as a cultural and artistic center has grown enormously, leading to the decision to open a gallery there.
The striking new gallery, designed by Ai Weiwei is located in the Cao Changdi district, a choice location which is rapidly becoming one of the major centers for contemporary art in Beijing. The first exhibition to be held in the new space, Net: Reimagining Space, Time and Culture is organized by Wu Hung, who has served as chief curator for many of the biennials held in China and South Korea including the Shanghai Biennale (2000) and the Gwangju Biennial (2006) and influential exhibitions held in the United States and Great Britain (Between Past and Future: New Photography and Video in China, 2004).
Wu Hung’s first association with Chambers Fine Art began in 2000 with First Encounter: Lu Shengzhong. For the current exhibition which brings together specially commissioned works by seventeen artists associated with Chambers Fine Art, Wu Hung has investigated the concept of a “net” which “transcends any given time of space, history and region, specificity and abstraction. At the same time it also inhabits any given time and space, history and region, specificity and abstraction.” The meanings of the word range from the simple fishing net to Laozi’s use of the word as a political metaphor, and continue into the present day with the omnipresence of the internet. As Wu Hung points out: “To modern and contemporary artists, the “net” has become a favorite subject of their work, mainly because this image allows them to explore the connectivity and fluidity between the phenomenal world and the conceptual world… Because of the complexity of this concept, the show is expected to address many issues, from history and culture to its status as a fundamental image.”
Included in the exhibition are works by Ai Weiwei, He Yunchang, Hong Hao, Hong Lei, Lu Shengzhong, Qiu Zhujie, Rong Rong, Shi Jinsong, Song Dong, Wang Jianwei, Wang Tiande, Wu Jian’an, Yin Xiuzhen, Yu Hong, Zhan Wang, Zhang Peili, Zheng Guogu. Representing several generations, the selected are notably diverse stylistically and in the nature of their relationship to the overpowering presence of the culture of classical China. Their attitude to the massive transformation of Chinese society in the last two decades, unparalleled in history, also ranges from outright rejection to enthusiastic acceptance.
In the various phases of his development, Ai Weiwei has attempted to emulate the achievements of classical art, on occasion to rescue it and to demolish it altogether. Wang Tiande, Qiu Zhijie and Zheng Guogu have turned to calligraphy to examine how it might become something other than an antiquarian pursuit. Lu Shengzhong and Wu Jian’an have delved deeply into the traditional world of Chinese paper-cut and have turned away from the face of contemporary China. For Zhang Peili in his photographic works, and for the searching Realist paintings of Yu Hong, on the other hand, it is life as it is lived today that is of primary importance. Song Dong and Yin Xiuzhen have used video, performance and installation in their investigation of personal and social issues. Rong Rong, Hong Hao and Hong Lei have used the contemporary medium of photography as a means of creating haunting pictorial illusions while Wang Jianwei and Zhang Peili have made major contributions in the field of video. The disturbing performances of He Yunchang, one of which will take place during the opening, in which he frequently puts himself in situations of extreme discomfort or even danger, contrast with the steely perfection of the sculpture of Shi Jinsong in which the element of risk is an essential part of its appeal.
Christophe W. Mao has remarked: “It has been a rewarding experience for me over the past seven years to work with this group of artists, all great individualists unmoved by trends and what is currently in vogue. Finally - and thanks to Wu Hung - I will be able to see what it is that attracted me to them in the first place. Installed in the new gallery their works will speak to each other and I will be able to see not only what unites artists with similar interests but also artists at the other end of the artistic spectrum from each other. Is there any connection between the performances of He Yunchang and the sculptures of Shi Jinsong and Zhan Wang. Or between the paper- cuts of Lu Shengzhong and the paintings of Yu Hong. The “net” that Wu Hung described will occupy real space from September 20.”
A catalog on the exhibition will be available
前波画廊于2000年在纽约成立。七年之后，茅为清（Christophe W. Mao）十分荣幸地宣布，北京前波画廊将于2007年9月20日开幕。前波画廊开办之初，正值国际对当代中国日益关注的时候，而前波画廊也逐渐成为在美国展示众多中国艺术家作品的主要展览空间。过去七年来，随着艺术界的日益国际化，北京作为文化和艺术中心的重要地位也不断提高。这些因素都促使我们决定在北京再设置一个展览空间。