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Wang Xingwei curates new exhibition at Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing
Zhang Shujian, Arhat, oil on wood, 45 x 55 cm. 2011, Courtesy of the artist.

BEIJING.- The Ullens Center for Contemporary Art announced its latest exhibition Curated by Wang Xingwei: Specificity, selected artists include: Liu Weijian, Wang Xingjie, Wen Ling, Xia Guanglong, Zhan Yingxiang, Zhang Shujian, and Zhang Wuyun. In the final installment of the longrunning “Curated By…” exhibition series, the work of these seven young artists, selected by one of China’s most interesting and intelligent painters, is showcased together for the first time.

Wang Xingwei, whose own major retrospective will open at UCCA in spring 2013, has assembled a group exhibition of seven artists whose works address, from different perspectives, the fraught relationship between (realist) painting and the reality it is tasked with depicting. Many of the artists hail from Wang’s home region in northeast China, and he has identified four thematic approaches visible in the exhibition, which he describes as “the elimination of ranking, irreplaceability, an unknown condition, and a sense of reality.”

From a generation and background sympathetic to the discovery of painting as an awakening, Wang Xingwei draws together a shared acuity of observation, where time is captive and individual experience paramount. The artists, born between 1969 and 1987, include figures such as Wen Ling, known for his underground pen-on-paper comics and DIY publications and Wang Xingjie, the curator’s younger brother, alongside several painters who have never before shown in a museum setting.

Together the works express moments of clarity and confusion, exploring the balance between concrete and impermanent in a rapidly shifting world – a dichotomy described by Zhan Yingxiang as ‘instants of illogical estrangement, vivid moments of clarity’. In the fifteenth and final instantiation of the “Curated By…”exhibition program, this show sees the most artists ever represented together in the series, as well as a curatorial approach that balances both collective voice and a diversity of perspectives from a shared locale.

The exhibition is accompanied by an eponymous new book by writer and LEAP senior editor Guo Juan. Published by UCCA Books, it includes an extended essay on each of the seven participating artists. In the same spirit of exploring the relationship between depiction and reality as the exhibition itself, these essays look at the daily lives and situations of the artists as deep background for their creative endeavors. Based on extensive on-site research, Guo Juan's essayistic portraits form a compelling document of individual lives and works.

Wang Xingwei
Wang Xingwei (b. 1969, Shenyang, Liaoning) graduated from the art department of Shenyang Normal University. Concentrating on developing his own critical sense of shape, color and form, Wang Xingwei freed himself from the standardized approach taught in the academies. Through an experimental exploration of the canons of art history and painting, an original voice emerged that was sincere, humorous and sometimes subversive. In his paintings, social, cultural and arthistorical references are subtly imbedded in a non-linear visual language of personal symbols and associations. Unconcerned with conforming to any specifically “contemporary” stylistic identity or market constraints, Wang Xingwei continues to deconstruct preconceived notions surrounding how works of art should be read and understood, creating new interpretive possibilities. He currently lives and works in Beijing. Selected group and solo shows include the Biennale d'art Contemporain de Lyon in Lyon, France (1997), the 1st Guangzhou Triennial, Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou (2002), Thirty Years of Chinese Contemporary Art 1979-2009, Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai (2010) and The State of Things, Brussels/Beijing, at the National Art Museum of China, Beijing (2010), curated by Fan Di’an, Ai Weiwei, Luc Tuymans and Philippe Pirotte. A major retrospective of his work to date will appear at UCCA in 2013.

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