《Post-tradition: the magnified slice》
——Post tradition: Forth Shanghai Duolun Exhibition of Young Artists

Organizer: Shanghai Duolun Museum of Modern Art
Opening: 15:00, December 25, 2010
Date: December25,2010-February11, 2011
Venue: Shanghai Duolun Museum of Modern Art(Duolun Road No.27)
Website: www.duolunmoma.org
Managing Director: Zhang Yonglin,
Art Director: Chen Jiu ,
Exhibition Director: Du Fang Mary Mai
Curator: Ma Yan
Academic Preside: Zhu Zhu
Exhibition Assistant: Elvis Gu, Ma Yuqing
Media: Lu Xing, Sea Xie
Designer: Dancy Shen
Engineering: Bao Zhenyuan


Chen Chen Yujun&Chen Yufan、Hangfeng、Dong Wensheng、Ma Liang、Ni Youyu、
Hu Liu、Han Zijian、Pan Xiaorong、Qiu Shiming、Shen Ruijun、Wang Yabin、Wu Jianan、Yang Xinguang、Yang Yongliang、Ying Yefu、Zheng Lu

As an art exhibition with Chinese features for young artists, the bi-annual Shanghai Doland Art Exhibition for Young People has 7 years of history since its first appearance in Sept 2004, which invited famous local Shanghai artists to join the Art Exhibition for Young People in pseudonym. The second and third Art Exhibitions invited the young artists across the nation to join the Art Exhibition by means of solution proposal; riding the wave of the World Expo, the Doland Museum will welcome its third Shanghai Doland Art Exhibition for Young People. This exhibition will focus on the theme of post-tradition and the exhibition time is from 25th, Dec 2010 to 11th, Feb 2011.

In recent years, after the gradual legalization of pioneering arts and during the 6-7 years of excessive market prosperity, the phenomenon and concepts of youth artistic creation, such as ‘pictured production’, ‘post-70s arts’ and the ‘cartoon generation’ have been unearthed and produced by critics and become the mainstream ecology of contemporary arts. Contrary to the uproar of pictures and ideas, the ‘post-tradition’ phenomenon of youth artistic creation has been decentralized. These artists kept silent attention to the hearts and discussed the possibility of tradition. They belong to the youth group that has been trying to inherit tradition in their artistic creation for exploration of more profound depth no matter what the outside circumstances are. After the financial crisis and the unprecedented trough of the artistic markets, the artistic creation that accumulates traditional Chinese features has unexpectedly but gradually become the dimension of public attention.

Following previous practice, the Fourth Doland Young Artists Exhibition continues to discard the mainstream belief of artistic forms but seeks to excavate and cultivate the self-awareness of real arts among the young artists. The theme of this exhibition is: Post-tradition: the magnified slice’, which is based on the exposure to a large number of artworks from young artists. We have captured the trend of artistic transformation and made an assortment of the creations from the young artists to magnify the topic and phenomenon of ‘post-tradition’, as a local slice for focused and effective research and discussion.

Post-tradition is a hard-to-define concept; at present there is no detailed and definite theoretical explanation. In ‘Living in the post-traditional Society’, the British scholar Anthony Giddens once said: Post-modern society is ‘post-traditional’, isn’t it? In most part of the modern society, modernity dissolves and at the same time re-constructs tradition.*1 Giddens revealed the impact and neutralization of modernization on tradition from the sociological perspective, emphasizing the ‘reflection’ and ‘re-construction’ of traditional societies in the modernization process; which served as a theoretical footnote of ‘post-tradition’. Returning from theoretical to the concrete, tangible, realistic aspects, it becomes apparent that the Chinese history has undergone the path of resisting and then advocating traditional culture. Our backwardness in the past has led our people to realize the significance of learning advanced western technology; the western modern literature and philosophy in the 80’s has exerted a great impact on an entire generation of Chinese. Under the ‘teaching’ of mainstream western pioneering ideology of artistic creation, the practices to resist traditional culture seem well-justified. However, in face of the globalization process, the Orient and the Occident have begun to seriously reexamine the values of each other. Once we get rid of the western-oriented mentality, where do you find our own cultural identity? We must defend our own cultural tradition!

The cultural relics of history: Buddha statues in Dunhuang, poems from Tang and Song, the illusive poetic feeling of Southern China, the folk arts and ancient mythology has once again returned to us in the globalization process as traditional culture and resources. The Chinese aesthetic perspective and ideological temper has re-flourished as an indispensible survival experience but not only restricted to these aspects. So does post-tradition means the artworks that represent traditional values in the post-modern society? Obviously not! First, the transition and infiltration of tradition in contemporary arts is not a superficial visual experience; it is a thinking and experimental process that results in a visualized ambit. In other words, tradition at this stage is not an unconditionally accepted product, but an object of conscious selection and study for the artists in the global context. Narrowing down to artworks, it means the further reflection and re-arrangement of ‘traditional deposit’ in modern arts of young artists’.

Here, the theoretical concept and definition of ‘tradition’ and ‘post-tradition’ is not the focus of this exhibition. It doesn’t mean to verify the effectiveness of the themes with the artworks. On the contrary, through this exhibition, we try to explore the possibility of transformation, extension and re-construction of tradition in the contemporary artistic context as it is being dissolved by ‘modernity’, through the mirror of ‘post-traditional’ artworks from the young artists in the multicultural contemporary Chinese artistic narrative context. Hereby we shall reveal how art is represented and inherited in the traditional and modern context, and further excavate and illustrate the unique artistic creation phenomenon in the contemporary Chinese artistic context. We also try to explain the difference between the young and old artists in terms of how they treat ‘traditional resources’. On the premise that tradition is treated as a concept and contemporariness as a context, will it lead to some constructive discoveries?

In fact, the phenomenon of ‘post-tradition’ has always existed in contemporary Chinese artistic creation. In specific, the reference of artworks on Chinese cultural resources and cultural symbols, such as the works of Cai Guoqiang, Huang Yongping and Xu Bing have included abundant traditional elements, representing the awareness of the contemporary transformation of traditional culture. They treat traditional Chinese culture as a symbol and an element and try to interpret it from the perspective of western culture. Different from the approach of the previous-generation artists who treat traditional resources as materials for the use of modern arts, the new-generation Chinese artists emphasize the enquiry of the uniqueness of traditional cultural identity of the Chinese and their concern for cultural rupture during their artistic creation in the global context. The materials and media they employ can be daily routine and the approach can be daily routine experience, but their works have represented holistic impression and traditional temper; it is a perfect representation and inheritance of Chinese cultural root in terms of artworks.

Among the exhibitors, there exist a couple of tendencies toward the reference and transformation of tradition. The first type is the study and transformation of traditional culture and historic vocabulary, such as Ni Youyu, Dong Wensheng, Han Zijian, Yang Yongliang, Wu Jian’an, Shen Ruiyun, Yin Yefu and Zheng Lu; another type demonstrates the mastery of tradition in the temperament of their artworks; these artworks emphasize the expression of inner feelings, representing the ‘simplicity’ aesthetic view of Chinese culture, such as: Yang Xinguang, Hu Liu and Pan Xiaorong. Yet another type is that certain series of their artworks are related to the topic of ‘post-tradition’, such as the artists Chen Hangfeng, Chen Yujun & Chen Yufan, Ma Liang, Wang Yabin and Qiu Shiming.

Ni Youyu enjoys the reputation of ‘the Apprentice of Ancient times’, who masters the art of applying contemporary context for the expression of traditional artistic concept. In his terminology, ‘tradition’ and ‘contemporariness’ make up the two sides of a coin, which are perfectly coordinated in his artworks. He endeavors to keep a balance and bridge the gap between ‘tradition’ and ‘contemporariness’ through his artworks.

The artistic creation of Dong Wensheng has given a special attention to ‘narration’ and ‘poetic expression’ in the Riversouth style; he applies images and devices to closely observe the displacement, contradiction and identity enquiry of tradition in the post-modern context, trying to find a way out from the dialogue with tradition and his identity recognition.

Han Zijian is good at creating a spacious and illusive feeling of Chinese painting with the use of heavy metals such as stainless steel; his recent artworks have begun to use spatial device for the creation, combination and disassembly of traditional elements in different media.

Yang Yongliang seems to have a special spiritual connection with ‘mountains and seas’; his intense interest in traditional cultures has enabled him to reflect the Chinese cultural rupture and loss with his artworks of painting and photography. Here we must examine this question: Where do we find the uniqueness of our identity?

Wu Jian’an experiments on and extends the contents of folk arts in multi-facets, applying paper-cut, shadow puppet, traditional mythology and media for successful transformation of artworks with special decorative appeals. His fascination in folk arts has motivated the evolution of his personal artistic style, in a distinctively different manner from the remaining contemporary Chinese artists.

Shen Ruiyun graduated from Guangzhou Fine Arts Institutes and then went to the US for further study. He was a young artist that is more active abroad. Her artworks combine traditional Chinese aesthetic ideology and create a multi-layered cascading effect of space.

The subjective awareness and complex of artists for ‘reminiscence’ and ‘memory’ is extremely conspicuous in the connection in the artworks of Yin Yefu. His works stand out as a unique type with a combination of classical sketch, cartoon and exotic tinge of the 80s.

Zheng Lu’s creation of statues centers round ‘words’ as they represent a special role for foreshadowing in his artworks. The recent artists also try to transform to personal visual experience from macro-cultural perspective while retaining the sentimental sincerity of traditional Chinese artists.

Yang Xinguang is an expert on the use of woods, clay and stones for the creation of arts; however, he tries to avoid the daily triviality and political rage and return to the essence of arts per se. He is experimenting on the transmission and transformation of ‘nature’, ‘objects’ and ‘mentality’ in arts with the simplicity of his traditional artistic perspective.
With the unique meticulous thinking of females, the artworks of Hu Liu have become an icon among the young Chinese artists. He applies pencils as a fixed media of creation. The subjects and techniques of drawing are not her concern; her pursuit is the untouched experience and philosophical examination on the meaning of life as she emerges herself in the scribbling process.

The handicraft of Pan Xiaorong is different from drawing; he is experimenting on the inner tranquility of himself in the interwoven process of constant cut of blades, the ink ad the ripping of papers.

The most distinctive artworks of Chen Hangfeng is the ‘Crazy Symbols’ series between graphic design and devices, which represent a successful application of the symbolization of traditional Chinese paper cut and world-famous logos, through which he explores the severe impact of globalization, modernity and consumption society on traditional cultures. He recent photographic artworks reflect the retrospection and experiment of artists on the phenomenon of cultural fast food or blind pursuit of the so-called brand culture.

The co-work of Chen Yujun & Chen Yufan, ‘Asian Territory’ is a spatial drawing with constant extension and mobility; starting from the individual experience of the artists, it connects water ranges, geographic features, ethic groups, the time and emotions. ‘Tradition is closely interconnected with memory’; from here, they start to pay attention to the transmission of time, space and culture, bringing the past to present.

The co-work of Chen Yujun & Chen Yufan, ‘Asian Territory’ is a spatial drawing with constant extension and mobility; starting from the individual experience of the artists, it connects water ranges, geographic features, ethic groups, the time and emotions. ‘Tradition is closely interconnected with memory’; from here, they start to pay attention to the transmission of time, space and culture, bringing the past to present.

The painting language of Wang Yabin is hidden in the ‘ancient relics’, mysterious, untouched but rich. The artist brings the relics and debris that he collects and the ancient ‘objects’ of spiritual flavor into his painting. His artworks have become a successor to the Aura of Benjamin.

Perhaps it is due to his life experience in Riversouth, the photography of Jiu Shiming is always filled with a dense atmosphere that represents a spiritual ‘classic return’. In terms of expression, he relies on personal experience and individual understanding.

Looking at the general impression of the artworks from the young artists, their style and features of creation is unaggressive but natural and profound, reflecting their tranquil mindset when they face the reality. In an age of impulsive disturbance and after the experience of excessive uncertainties and confusing ideologies, they are offering their in-depth thinking on Chinese culture and theoretical innovation of arts. The artistic creation of the young artists has extended the academic clues of traditional aesthetics in the history of contemporary arts and at the same time, represented their unique personal style that originates from their cultural experience, thus pushing the exploration of the post-tradition return of modern arts in the post-modern context. The nourishment and recuperation from local resources in turn will provide the artists with more extensive cultural support reinforcement and more value support in their self-expression and self-recognition.


Chen Hangfeng,Wind from West·Bamboo,2010,60×80×9cm
Cutplasticbag(black),commonpin,woodframe and broad,mini fan,timer and transformer.

Chen Yufan & Chen Yujun,Flowing Space,2010,Oil on canvas,Space Installation

Wu Jianan,Xingtian,2006-2007,Laser-cut Brass,190×97×0.15cm

Yang Xinguang,Dead Birds,2008,Peach wood,400×400cm

Yang Yongliang,Before the rain,Video,3'40"

Ying Yefu,Leap Across,Ink and paper on paper,95×208.5 cm

ong Wensheng,The Convert No.1-No.4,2009,Photography,122×101cm×4

Hang Zijian,2010,60×40cm

Hu Liu,Pine,2010,Drawing on paper

Ma Liang Scend-hand tang poem,2007,Photography,90×7cm

Ni Youyu,Map of East & West,2010,Mixed media on canvas,360×230cm

Pang Xiaorong

Qiu Shiming,Fragments of Autumn,2008-2009,Video Installation10' 19"

Shen Ruijun,2010,3' Vidio

Wang Yabin, 2009,30×30cm×3

ZhengLu Impression of Hongren's Lanscape,2009,Installation,185×105×130cm


For further information:
Shanghai Duolun Museum of Modern Art
Tel: 021-56719068
Email: xyxy_me@hotmail.com