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As part of Reel China: Chinese New Documentary Film Festival, Chambers Fine Art will be showing a series of eleven documentary films from 15 to 20 May, 2001. The festival organizer, R.E.C. Foundation Inc., has selected documentaries made in the last decade by artists from mainland China on a wide variety of topics, ranging from changes in artistic policy to family planning, from minority matters to the legal system.

The films vividly and faithfully portray the transformations of China during the last hundred years, with an emphasis on the last two decades after China adopted open-door policies. Filmed in many areas of China, these documentaries range in territory from its capital city Beijing to its most southwest province Yunnan, from the Yangtse River at the heart of China to its remote Tibetan provinces. No matter where the stories take place, they provide an unusually close look at ordinary Chinese people, whose lives are easily overlooked.

Kubert Leung analyzes paintings produced from 1966 to 1976 in Art in the Cultural Revolution, revealing Mao's strategy of using art for political purposes. Ten years later, a new generation of Chinese artists expressed their anxiety and frustrations in the newest art form in the contemporary Chinese art world - Performance Art, as documented in Chinese Avant-Garde Performance Art from 1986 to 2000. Filmed in widely dispersed parts of China, Jiang Yue's A River Stilled explores the fatal change in a couple's life while building the hydraulic station at the Three Gorges on the Yangtse River, and Zhu Xiaoqing's 20 Wei Hai Road, reflects the gradual changes in the People's Square in Shanghai over the last century. Romantic Lake and Baka Village reveal the mysterious lives of those who follow their ancestor's traditional living styles in isolated areas of China. The conflicts and struggles occasioned by their encounters with "modernity" and "civilization," expose questions of preservation and renovation.

The simple, straightforward languages used in these documentary films provide a glimpse into modern China through the eyes of "ordinary people" (lao baixing), and show the wide variety of lifestyles and problems that China is facing during its massive economical, political and cultural transitions.



Kubert Leung在《文革艺术》(Art in the Cultural Revolution)中叙述了1966年至1976年间油画的发展过程,揭示了毛泽东对艺术的运用和在政治上的雄心。《1986到2000年中国前卫行为艺术》纪录了十年后新一代的中国艺术家以实验艺术的方式性对自己焦虑和挫败心情的表现。蒋樾的《彼岸》描述了一对情侣在三峡水电站修筑时所面临的决定性的转折,而朱晓庆的《威海路20号》则讲述了上海人民广场在中国改革中戏剧性的转变。Romantic Lake 和 Baka Village展现了在中国被隔离的地区中的传统而神秘生活。这种矛盾与挣扎,来自于传统与现代化和文明化的冲击,以及保留与创新之间的关系问题。


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