SAN JOSE, CA.- The San Jose Museum of Art
will present an exhibition of photography that illustrates Chinas astounding social and economic transformation in the 21st century. Rising Dragon: Contemporary Chinese Photography, on view February 2-June 30, 2013, showcases images by photographers working in mainland China between the years 2000 and 2012both Years of the Dragon in the Chinese zodiac. The exhibition includes more than one hundred photographs by 36 Chinese artists. Many of these photographers revive social-documentary photography and experiment with new, digital photographic processes to explore common concerns such as the alteration of the natural environment or the erosion of cultural heritage in an increasingly globalized society. Several of the artists have long careers and established names, but have only recently been discovered by museums and galleries in the United States.
The exhibition includes works by Adou, Cao Fei, Chen Qiulin, Chen Wei, Huang Yan, Jiang Pengyi, Li Lang, Li Wei, Liu Ren, Liu Zheng, Liyu & Liubo, Lu Guang, Lu Hao, Maleonn (Ma Liang), Muge, O Zhang, Peng Rong, Qiu Zhijie, Rong Rong, Sun Ji, Tamen, Tian Taiquan, Wang Jin, Wang Qingsong, Wang Wusheng, Weng Fen, Xu Zhen, Yang Yi, Yao Lu, Yu Haibo, Zhang Huan, Zhang Lijie, Zhang Xiao, and Zhou Hai.
Undercurrents of Chinas rich artistic legacy are present in many of the portraits, landscapes, cityscapes, and scenes of daily modern life, said Rory Padeken, curatorial assistant at SJMA. Yet these images also often seem to fast-forward into the future with a very now visual style filled with humor, artifice, and pop excess.
The exhibition is organized by the Katonah Museum of Art, New York. It is sponsored by Applied Materials, McManis Faulkner and Trina Solar.
Encompassing a wide range of subject matter and styles, Rising Dragon provides a broad look at what is happening in Chinese photography today. Artists such as Weng Fen and Zhou Hai represent a documentary approach. In his series Sitting on the Wall (20002010), Weng documents a decade of gradual yet radical transformation of a city skyline with an annual photograph. Zhou captures the environmental impact of untrammeled economic growth in the series The Unbearable Heaviness of Industry (2005). Others, like Wang Wusheng, reach back into Chinas artistic past: Wang depicts the Yellow Mountains in photographs that recall traditional landscape paintings of the of the Song dynasty (9601279). Other artists use artifice or even humor. For example, the duo Liyu + Liubo imagine surreal scenes based on real tabloid headlines, as in Chutian Golden Paper 2006-04-30, Hair Salon WonderHairdressing while Smashing (2006).