Shore to shore

By Zhang Zihan Source:Global Times Published: 2012-7-18 20:20:04

Silence by Zhang Aina is among the works on display at the Today Art Museum. Photo: Courtesy of Zhang Ying
Silence by Zhang Aina is among the works on display at the Today Art Museum. Photo: Courtesy of Zhang Ying

Feeling exhausted from the humid hustle and bustle of Beijing? Then it might be time to refresh your soul by viewing some of the latest artworks by cool, creative young minds at the "Annual Nomination Exhibition for Students of Contemporary Art Academies" at the Today Art Museum.

The annual exhibition was first held in 2006, and provides a stage for art students to showcase their works while broadening the horizons of art admirers. This year's exhibition features 144 artists' works including paintings, installations, sculptures and photographs. Works were selected from more than 10,000 pieces created by 3,000 Chinese and overseas college students. The exhibition is divided into three sections: "This Shore," "The Other Shore" and an overseas exhibition zone.

In contrast to other professional exhibitions that largely depend on professional curators, the exhibition for students, as its name suggests, is curated by students themselves. This year's curators are from the Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts, and are responsible for the sections of "This Shore" and "The Other Shore."

Most artworks in "This Shore" are paintings, while "The Other Shore" predominantly features sculptures and installations. Zhao Daqian, a student at the Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts, noted each section offers something different to visitors.

"'This Shore' features artworks that are loyal to realism and textbook artistic concepts and skills," Zhao told Metro Beijing. "'The Other Shore' focuses on students' ability exploring the borders of creativity. Many revolutionary artworks are featured in this section."

One of the exhibition's masterpieces is oil painting The Lost Dream displayed in "This Shore" by Xu Jiangfeng.

The Empty Room by Cui Tengfei in "The Other Shore" reveals the artist's ambitions. Upon first glance, it appears to be a classic oil painting, yet Zhao noted on closer observation it offers much more.

"The shadows of characters were taken away to make the painting alienated from normal life," Zhao explained.

"I tried to present the world in detail with surrealism," said Cui. "I hope my painting can create a world that is both strange and familiar to the audience and help them rediscover their soul."

Though the young artists' creativity shines through their works, most of them are technically immature, said Liu Yang, curator of "This Shore."

"Most Chinese art schools stress creativity rather than basic skills," said Liu. "For this reason, we hope 'This Shore' can remind and encourage students to embrace proper techniques."

Feng Shan's Her Story is a sculpture based on Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale The Red Shoes, which she read as a child.

It shows a pale Chinese girl with injured feet standing in front of a long table. At the end of the table is a pair of red shoes dripping in blood.

"The shoes are symbolic of temptation, which has many forms including vanity, desire and lust," said Feng. "Everyone has a pair of red shoes in their heart."

Some artists have also made courageous attempts despite their youth to tackle serious issues including life and death. Allan Yong's video installation Remorial is an interactive artwork that centers on victims of the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake. It depicts a universe with stars representing the victims, their names eerily sparkling upon movement from visitors.

"People are surrounded by news in this digital age. They can easily forget the past," said Yong. "With technology, it's truly possible to revere and remember these victims."

When: Until July 29

Where: Today Art Museum, 32 Baiziwan Road, Chaoyang district

Admission: 20 yuan

Contact: 5876-0600

Posted in: ARTS, Metro Beijing

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