The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Monday, May 28, 2018

Mahjong: Contemporary Chinese Art from the Sigg Collection To Open at BAM/PFA
Huang Yan, Chinese Landscape: Tattoo No. 6, 1999, Color photograph, 1 ft. 7 in. x 2 ft.

BERKELEY, CA.- The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) announces a major exhibition of contemporary Chinese art, on view at the museum from September 10, 2008, through January 4, 2009. Mahjong: Contemporary Chinese Art from the Sigg Collection is drawn from the collection of Uli Sigg, a Swiss collector whose long and close ties to China have enabled him to build a collection that is unrivaled in quality, scope, and size. The exhibition will feature a selection of approximately 120 works by 92 artists, including exceptional paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs, video works, and installations spanning four decades.

The BAM/PFA showing of Mahjong represents the first time that a significant number of works from the Sigg Collection have been seen in the Americas. (A version of the exhibition has been seen in Berne, Switzerland; Hamburg, Germany; and Salzburg, Austria.) The exhibition is coordinated at BAM/PFA by Julia M. White, senior curator of Asian art, and is co-curated by Ms. White and Lucinda Barnes, chief curator and director of programs and collections.

Ms. Barnes states, “We are delighted to be presenting this very significant exhibition at BAM/PFA. Mahjong ideally complements both this institution’s history as a leading center for exploring contemporary artistic and cultural practices, and UC Berkeley’s position as a national leader in research relating to China.”

Ms. White states, “The breadth of the Sigg Collection offers a window not only onto the stunning changes in Chinese art in the past decades, but also onto the equally stunning changes that have taken place in Chinese society and culture. We are thrilled that Uli Sigg has made his collection available for this landmark exhibition.”

Mahjong takes its name from the centuries-old Chinese game enjoyed by millions worldwide. Relying on rules and chance, mahjong revolves around collecting matching sets of tiles; the skill lies in recognizing the best opportunities for making high-scoring combinations. The exhibition, like the game, is made up of groupings of works that, when combined in different ways, create new and stimulating opportunities to view and appreciate contemporary Chinese art.

The Exhibition - Mahjong: Contemporary Chinese Art from the Sigg Collection, which occupies nine of the museum’s ten galleries, surveys the development of contemporary art in China from the 1970s to the present day, illuminating the political, social, and cultural forces that have shaped it. Beginning with Socialist Realism, the exhibition moves on to illustrate the avant-garde movements of the 1980s and early 1990s, and also includes works by a generation of artists who have emerged following China’s social and political reforms of the past decade. The work addresses such issues as Mao, the Cultural Revolution, consumerism, disparities between the cities and the countryside, and the tensions between the individual and society, among others.

All of the major developments in contemporary Chinese art are represented in the exhibition by pivotal works, some of which are now well known in the West. Featured artists include Liu Wei, Huang Yan, Ai Weiwei, Weng Fen, Yue Min Jun, Zhang Xiaogang, Xu Bing, and Zhang Huan, as well as a number of artists still largely unknown outside of China. As a whole, the exhibition provides audiences with an unparalleled opportunity to view China as a closed society in the 1970s and early 1980s, and to observe the changes in cultural expression that have occurred as Chinese society has become increasingly open.

The Socialist Realist paintings that open the exhibition were created in the 1970s, during the Cultural Revolution. Provided as historical background, these are works that might have hung on the walls of schools or other public buildings, conveying their messages through drama or sentiment.

Following this is a range of works from the late 1970s to early 2000s. Many of these focus on Mao—depicted in more familiar than awe-inspiring terms—or the Cultural Revolution, as well as, somewhat later, Tiananmen Square. In Li Shan’s 1995 portrait of Mao, for example, the leader’s facial features have been refined and softened to the point of androgyny, and he holds a lotus flower in his mouth. The Cultural Revolution is invoked in a number of works, including two of Shao Yinong and Mu Chen’s intensely saturated color photographs of the assembly halls that were used for indoctrination of the masses throughout China during that period.

Tiananmen Square is the subject of Yin Zhaoyang’s pair of 2003 paintings, one showing the Square during the day, the other at night. The former, called simply Tiananmen Square, shows the Square teeming with anonymous figures, depicted from a centralized, symmetrical viewpoint, in an unmodulated light. In the nighttime version, titled Ode of Joy, the Square is depicted from an almost raking angle, and is alight with celebratory fireworks. Together, these two works are a vivid expression of Tiananmen Square’s complex history and the contradictory feelings it evokes.

A separate gallery of the exhibition is devoted to works from a group known as Stars (Xingxing), founded in 1979. These artists, who were largely self-trained, wanted to create work that was free of political propaganda, and that had room for the “bourgeois” emotions associated with Western art. They were thus forced to work underground. (On September 27, 1979, the group held an unofficial exhibition that drew large crowds, but was quickly shut down by the government, which deemed it an unauthorized public meeting.)

By 2000, with capitalist reforms and globalization well underway, and the market for Chinese art firmly established, artists were freer than ever to express a range of personal ideas and emotions. They increasingly did so in works that take on an openly questioning, even challenging tone. Shi Jinsong’s installation Office Equipment Prototype No. 1 (2004), for example, appears to comprise a stainless-steel desk, chair, flat-screen monitor, a lamp, and a variety of other office accoutrements, all of them with the gleaming, streamlined look of a modern office. Yet upon inspection, it becomes clear that each object is actually an instrument of torture: the monitor is a guillotine, screws protrude through the back of the chair, the lamp emits electric shocks, and so on.

Several works in the exhibition take Chinese identity, as expressed in its families and faces, as their topic. For one of these, Zhang Huan’s Family Tree (2000), three calligraphers spent a day writing texts related to Zhang Huan’s family history on his face. The nine photographs that document the process show Zhang Huan’s face increasingly obscured by the calligraphy, until it is covered in black.

Not surprisingly, commercialism is central to a number of later works in Mahjong, evidencing the tensions between the socialist ideals that are still officially operative and the consumerism unleashed by capitalist reforms. A monumental untitled work of 1999 by the three Luo brothers, for example, combines lacquer technique, Chinese folk art, and advertising images in a brash and ironic composition.

Other works make use of traditional Chinese art forms, if only to subvert them. At first glance, Liu Wei’s hauntingly beautiful It Looks Like a Landscape appears to be a classical Chinese landscape of hills and mist, while in actuality, it is a composite of photographic close-ups of knees, backs, arms, and other body parts.

The increasingly stark contrast between the urban and the rural in China is addressed from varying perspectives. Seen together, Weng Fen’s lush color photographs (2002) of a young girl straddling a wall as she gazes at a large city evoke both the similarity among China’s rapidly growing

Last Week News

May 11, 2008

Hamburger Kunsthalle Presents American Painter Mark Rothko. The Retrospective

Helmut Newton Foundation Presents "Pigozzi and the Paparazzi"

Denver Art Museum Extends Hours for Inspiring Impressionism Exhibition

The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center Presents Facebook: Images of People in Photographs

ART HK 08: The Source of Investments to Hang in the Home

Major Exhibition of Antiquarian Maps at the Ukranian Museum

Aerial Portraits of the American West: Photographs by John Shelton

CCS Bard Presents Lisi Raskin's Mobile Observation (Transmitting and Receiving) Station

John Armleder and Olivier Mosset Featured at The Contemporary

"Women Helping Women: Stitch by Stitch" - Afghan Women's Collaboration

I Don't Speak Very Much - Kijune Park / Rui Matsunaga / Miho Sato

Photographers Wanted for EXPOSURE - A Competition Celebrating the Power of the Image

May 10, 2008

Paine Art Center Opens The Impressionist Figure Selections from the Albright-Knox

Artists in Depth: Works from the MCA Collection on View in Chicago

National Gallery of Ireland will present Impressionist Interiors

Smoke and Mirrors Presents 35 Works on Paper at The Seattle Art Museum

MFA Houston Exhibition to Feature Paintings from Egypt's Minister of Culture Farouk Hosny

Sothebys to Hold Inaugural Exhibition in Kiev and Preview in Moscow

Machines of Memory: Cameras from the Technology Collection at George Eastman House

International Fine Art Fair at the Park Avenue Armory Opens in New York

Insult and Injury: Elaborations on Christ's Passion at Minneapolis Institute of Arts

The Language of the Nude: Four Centuries of Drawing the Human Body

Beggars To Exiles: Unseen Photographs Of The Rolling Stones, 1966-1971 at San Francisco Art Exchange

Proposed Sculpture by Turner Prize Winner Mark Wallinger Heads Angel of the South Shortlist

SFMOMA Appoints New Director of Development

May 9, 2008

Form: Contemporary Architects at Play Opened at The Contemporary Arts Center

Haus der Kunst Will Present Robert Rauschenberg - Travelling '70 - '76

Irish Museum of Modern Announces Miquel Barcelo Exhibit in June

"Speed" Exhibition From Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to Focus on How Artists use Movement

The Japonisme of Edgar Degas and James Tissot at The Art Gallery in Hamilton

The Nelson-Atkins Presents Siah Armajani: Dialogue with Democracy

Jane Hammonds Installation of Leaves Representing Fallen Soldiers in Iraq Arrive at Wexner Center

Lazarides Gallery Presents British Painter, Miranda Donovan

Archibald Prize 2008: Vincent Fantauzzo Wins the People's Choice for his Portrait of Heath Ledger

Waves - The Art of the Electromagnetic Society Exhibits at The

IV International Biennial of Contemporary Realism and Figuration to be Held in Murcia

Metropolitan Museum Announces Master Photographer Exhibit in June

Reclaimed: Paintings from the Collection of Jacques Goudstikker at The Bruce Museum

Ballyhoo! Portraits as Portraiture Opens at The National Portrait Gallery in Washington

Major Gordon Bennett Survey to Open at GoMA

May 8, 2008

Sotheby's Sale of Impressionist and Modern Art Sets Record for Fernand Leger

Comprehensive Paul Klee Retrospective at The Albertina in Vienna

Russian Photographer Yevgeny Khaldei Exhibit at The Martin Gropius Bau

Saint Louis Art Museum Opens Gordon Parks Retrospective Exhibition

Photographs Contrasting Twin Cities on View at The Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery

The Art of Clairtone: The Making of a Design Icon, 1958-1971 set to Open at Design Exchange

Streuner (Stray) by Cornelia Genschow on View at The Kunstmuseum in Bonn

French Institute Alliance Francaise (FIAF) Presents Peter Knapp: La passion des images

Gitte Jungersen Exhibits her Newest Works at Danish Museum of Art and Design

New Leadership Announced at Art Forum Berlin

Development of Three Early North American Settlements Examined in Exhibit

Exhibit Celebrates the Artistry and Craftsmanship of Tiffany Studios

London-Based Design Office Industrial Facility Exhibits at Design Museum

Dutch Landscape Painter Leo van den Ende Spends 6,000 Hours Painting Tulips

Smithsonian American Art Museum Presents the First Major Retrospective of African American Modernist Aaron Douglas

May 7, 2008

Six New World Auction Records Set Including Monet, Giacometti, Rodin and Miró

Christie's Unveils One of the Most Important and Most Valuable Works by Andy Warhol

Following the Success of Anselm Kiefer in 2007 Richard Serra Accepts Monumenta 2008 Challenge

Getty Presents the Work of German Photographer Team Bernd and Hilla Becher

Richard Rogers + Architects From the House to the City at The Design Museum

Statens Museum for Kunst Published New Book: Frames, State of the Art

Portland Museum of Art Director Daniel E. O'Leary Retires

Form and Matter: Monika Baer, Thomas Eggerer, Amelie von Wulffen at Belvedere

Metropolitan Museum's Costume Institute Salutes Power of "Superheroes" Imagery in Fashion

Governor General's Medals in Architecture Awarded to New Canadian War Museum

Most Controversial Paintings Made by Fernando Botero Open in Seville

The Three Sails by Joaquin Sorolla Expected to Sell for 3 to 4 Million USD at Sotheby's

A Sense of Playful Experimentation and Generosity by Torsten Lauschmann

Photographs of the Architecture in Quebec Opens at The National Gallery of Canada

Sign and Texture Exhibit Opens at The Tate Gallery

Fragile Wonders of China's Earth at Birmingham Museum

Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art Names Jill Hartz as Executive Director

May 6, 2008

Metropolitan Museum's Costume Institute Salutes Power of "Superheroes" Imagery in Fashion

Miller Brittain Retrospective at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia

Danish Sculptor Oivind Nygard Exhibits at Statens Museum for Kunst in Copenhagen

Sotheby's New York to Hold Sale of Latin American Art on May 29 and 30

Frances Stark: A Torment of Follies at the Secession in Vienna

Guillaume Bijl Separates Art and Social Reality at SMAK

Full Overview of Francis Bacon's Artistic Career at Palazzo Reale in Milan

Major Getty Exhibition Explores August Sander's Collective Portrait of Pre-World War II German Society

La Batalla de Treviño will be offered for sale at Sotheby's London in The Spanish Sale

Franklin Kelly to Become Deputy Director and Chief Curator of National Gallery of Art in October 2008

Exceptional Group of Drawings, Prints, and Rare Illustrated Books at the National Gallery

Lee Mingwei's Gernika in Sand on view at the Queensland Art Gallery

Peter Hutton Film Retrospective Opens at Museum of Modern Art in New York

Dots, Pulses and Loops at the National Gallery of Canada

Futurism and After: David Burliuk, 1882-1967 at The Winnipeg Art Gallery

Masters of 20th-Century Traditional Chinese Painting from the Collections of the National Gallery in Prague

AXA Art and Art Basel Continue and Expand their Relationship

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- New Rembrandt found after being bought at London auction

2.- Exhibition at Fotohof focuses on groups in society who are at risk of marginalisation

3.- John Brennan collection of Rock n Roll memorabilia offered at RR Auction

4.- A Bob Dylan guitar fetches $495,000 at auction

5.- Exhibition in San Francisco focuses on the latter half of René Magritte's career

6.- 'Mad' king Ludwig II of Bavaria lost gift to composer Richard Wagner gets rare show

7.- New Royal Academy of Arts opens in celebration of its 250th anniversary

8.- Researchers uncover Anne Frank's 'dirty jokes'in her diary

9.- New York art sales near $3 billion in two weeks as uber-rich hunt trophies

10.- Berlin's Ethnological Museum returns grave-plundered artefacts to Alaska

Related Stories

Important Judaica and Israeli & international art bring a combined $7.9 million at Sotheby's New York

Tunisia to auction ousted despot's treasures

Andy Warhol's Mao portraits excluded from the Beijing and Shanghai shows next year

China criticises French Qing dynasty seal auction

Christie's announces auction marking the first half century of the popular and luxurious interiors shop Guinevere

Nine new exhibits debut at San Diego International Airport

Rembrandt masterpiece "Portrait of Catrina Hooghsaet" back on display at National Museum Cardiff

Amber: 40-million-year-old fossilised tree resin is Baltic gold

Egyptian artist Iman Issa wins the Ist FHN Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona Award

The main chapel of the Basilica of Santa Croce open for visits after five year restoration

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful