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River Flows East: Landscapes of the Imagination

Luo Yongjin, Wu Jian'an, Hong Lei, Shen Fan, Huang Yuanqing, Qiu Zhijie, Yang Yongliang


July 31 – August 28, 2010

Hong Lei 洪磊, Taihu Stones 太湖石

Hong Lei 洪磊

Taihu Stones 太湖石


Set of 4 digital prints on rice paper

37 1/2 x 25 1/2 in (103 x 60 cm)

Hong Lei 洪磊, After Song Dynasty Painting Circle Series 仿宋 马麟 (暗香疏影)

Hong Lei 洪磊

After Song Dynasty Painting Circle Series 仿宋 马麟 (暗香疏影)

Color photographs 摄影
13 3/4 x 18 1/8 in  (34.9 x 46 cm)

Wu Jian'an 邬建安, Golden Tree 激光镂刻

Wu Jian'an 邬建安

Golden Tree 激光镂刻


Laser-cut brass 黄铜板(激光镂刻)

120.5 x 93 x 93 cm

Chambers Fine Art Beijing is pleased to announce a special preview showing of River Flows East, a group exhibition of Chinese contemporary art commissioned by The Collection the County Museum of Lincolnshire, England.

The Yangtze River flows, like most Chinese rivers, towards the East. It rises in the Tibetan Highlands, loops the breadth of the Chinese hinterland, and drains into the Yellow Sea through one of the world’s greatest river deltas. Along its route this vast water network generates a wide range of physical and imaginary landscapes. It has created some of China’s most celebrated scenery – both natural and manmade. It forms the mental backdrop for some China’s most significant cultural achievement and is the theatre for the enactment the most notable historical incident of the Chinese imagination. As one of the main channels for communication across the continent the river has also long been - usually in counter flow from East to West - the chief agent for the exchange of ideas and of manufactured goods. This phenomenon is most spectacularly witnessed in the 21st century with the current fast paced process of industrialization and mass urbanization.

River Flows East charts the metaphorical journey of the river through recent works by some of China’s most notable contemporary artists. Luo Yongjin’s photo montage screen of the historic Tibetan town of Xigatse is a fractured and recomposed vision of a distant and different place. His ancient style bronzes of landmark buildings of 21st century Shanghai add an ancient patina to new city skyline. Wu Jian'an, in a large format highly colored paper cut collage work suggests folk traditions located deep in mountains or in collective memories but not necessarily represented in the old literati’s study. Hong Lei is an artist who is deeply concerned with questions of landscape and culture and his Tai Hu Stones series draws on his knowledge of classical Southern Chinese gardening aesthetics. His circular photographic works After Song Dynasty Painting wistfully recall a gentler pleasure in nature. Shanghai based painters Shen Fan and Huang Yuanqing both draw on the traditions of Modernism and abstraction in their home city – Shen leaning towards minimal graphic clarity and Huang towards an expressive emotional abstraction informed by his calligraphic practice. Qiu Zhijie in his large scale ink works on paper 30 Letters to Qiu Jiawa examines a more recent social and political history of the Yangtze in his series focused on the significance and multi layered meanings of the NanjingYangtze River Bridge. Yang Yongliang’s Phantom Landscapes series of finely constructed photographic images deptict ideal classical mountain landscapes in the extraordinary process of becoming dense, modern Chinese cities. Hangzhou native

River Flows East seeks to demonstrate ways in which these artists are inheritors of a both Classical and Modern Southern Chinese aesthetic. It offers ways in which these Chinese artists are responding to the urgent globalized issues related to the social and environmental demands of economic development and the loss of physical landscapes dear to the imagination. A bilingual catalogue will be available on request from Mid-August 2010.. This publication not only includes works included in the exhibition but also a range of other visual material dating from the early 20th century through to the present day relating to the Yangtze of the imagination including: photographic works by a sequence of non-Chinese photographers and artists viewing the region from their own differing perspectives; stills from important films and documentaries that treat the theme of the Yangtze of the imagination; and postcards, guidebooks and other personal touristic memorabilia. Together these offer a greater insight into cultural significance of the Yangtze of the imagination and hopefully will allow deeper understanding of the works included in the exhibition.

For information please contact the gallery on + 86 (0)10 5127 32 98 or

Lincoln UK dates: October 22 - early March 2011. The Collection combines the archaeological collections of Lincolnshire with fine and decorative art collections alongside a cutting edge contemporary art programme of national and international importance. Opened in 2005 The Collection has received numerous awards including RIBA Award for Architecture, Civic Trust Award and was a finalist in the national Gulbenkian Prize for museums in 2006. Located below one of the finest cathedrals in Europe the museum and gallery have a stunning setting in the very heart of the historic city of Lincoln. River Flows East continues The Collection’s engagement with Chinese contemporary art. In 2008 The Collection showed the work of five painters in New Art from Sichuan and later hosted a residency for Shanghai based Shen Fan who appears prominently in River Flows East.

像中国大部分的江河一样,长江从西流向东。起源于青藏高原,它蜿蜒曲折地跨过中国广阔的腹地,经过世界上最大的一个三角洲流入黄海。在它的沿线这个巨大的河流网络产生了诸多现实的与幻想的风景。它造就了中国一些最著名的景色 - 自然的和人造的。它组成了中国一些最重要的文化成就的精神背景,它也成了对中国的认识与想象中最瞩目的历史事件发生的布景。作为内陆一条主要的沟通渠道这条河也一直是 - 通常是逆流从东向西 - 交换思想和制造品的首要媒介。在21世纪随着正在发生的快速的工业化及大面积城市化进程而举世瞩目。

《一江春水》通过一些中国最值得关注的当代艺术家近些年的作品描述了这条河流的隐喻之旅。 罗永进的摄影蒙太奇拼图西藏历史名城日喀则,是一个遥远而‘其它’的地方断裂后重组后的景象。他以21世纪上海地标性建筑做成的古代青铜器给这个新的城市天际线加上了一抹绿锈。 邬建安在一幅高度色彩化的大幅拼贴剪纸作品中暗示了这种民俗传统,它藏于深山或集体记忆中而未曾在旧的文人文化中有所体现。洪磊作为一名艺术家深切地关注风景与文化的问题,他的太湖石系列是由本人对中国传统江南园林美学的认识而引发的。他的摄影作品仿宋系列渴望追述一种极优雅的自然中的乐趣。上海画家申凡和黄渊青都牵扯到了上海早期的现代主义和抽象传统,前者倾向于一种极简的画面清晰感而后者则受自身书法研习启发,发展向一种情绪化的表现性抽象。在艺术家一系列聚焦于南京长江大桥的重要性和多层意义的作品中,邱志杰在他的大幅纸上水墨作品‘给邱家瓦的30封信’中检验了长江近些年的社会政治历史。 杨泳梁的蜃市山水系列用细致构建的摄影画面描绘了理想中的传统山水风景在逐渐转变为密集现代中国城市的惊人过程。


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