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Ausstellung / Vernissage / Text / Kunstwerke / Biografien

Foreword

Visit any international art fair and you will see China everywhere. The world looks much more closely now at new Chinese art, drawn by the way Chinese cities, the Chinese economy, and Chinese society have surged since the 1990s. The Chinese art you will see lives on the tension between the great nation’s timeless culture and the innovative spirit of our times.
  In Germany, this year is being celebrated as the Year of Chinese Culture. And SAP is stepping up its presence in China. What better reasons could there be to put on a Young Chinese Art exhibition at SAP? The Young Chinese Art show illustrates directions in new art, presenting work by four young artists who live in China and four who live and work in Europe. That juxtaposition of east and west invites the question how much of China and how much of Europe there is in the subjects these artists address and the media and materials they deploy. Are the ones who live in China more interested in the Chinese side and the expatriates more interested in the cross-cultural? The dialogue that the exhibition proposes reaches beyond such boundaries: We see the homeland traditions and the European influences – and we see them address today’s world. We see ink wash combined with new techniques; we see a Buddha figure with a Disney face. We are left pondering the identity of the artist.
Ever since it was founded in 1972, SAP has been active in art. The Company collects contemporary works and regularly mounts exhibitions at its Walldorf, Germany headquarters. These exhibitions have a 20-year history, offering a showcase for promising hopefuls as well as international luminaries.
Young Chinese Art opens at SAP in Walldorf from October 26, 2012, till March 30, 2013. It is curated in collaboration with Galerie Schillerstrasse of Heidelberg, Germany.
We are very grateful to the artists who are showing, to art historian  Dr. Zhao Zhou, and to gallery owner Li Huaxin for their help in setting up this exhibition.

© Alexandra Cozgarea
Art Curator                                                 
SAP AG


Artistic Creativity in the Time of Globalisation

“If you have a bosom friend within the boundary of the Four Seas, you will feel him as if he was in your neighbourhood even if you are as far as at the ends of the world.” This poem was recited by the poet Wang Bo (650-675) in the Tang Dynasty as he said farewell to his friend. Recently, in the time of globalisation, this deep emotion has turned into a daily reality. By means of modern communication, we keep contact with friends all over the world, and share with them what we are seeing, hearing, and thinking at every moment. The “distance” has vanished and the feeling of “in the neighbourhood”, is now part of everyday life.
  Besides changing in the field of communication, globalisation increases the mutual dependency of various countries. This can be seen in instances of economics, international trade, political and military interaction, and the wide-spread exchange of culture and the arts. Based on innovation and service, the German Corporation SAP has been making effective efforts in the fields of commercial and public interests. At the same time, the enterprise has benefited from the progress of globalisation; becoming a successful leader in the area of IT in Germany, as well as in the world. Since the early 1990’s, SAP has also made constant contributions to modernisation in China.
  After opening the door to the outer world, China took part in the accelerated process of globalisation in the last two decades of the 20th century. Since then, Chinese culture and art - with its own style and character, shaped by thousands of years of history has encountered chances and challenges of new artistic forms and content. Young artists, either based locally or in a foreign land, explore the future of Chinese contemporary art; bridging the gap between the traditional and the contemporary, and between the individual and society. These young artists, all of whom are in a far different situation than their forerunners of the first half of the twentieth century, are in a world where information and cultural interactions are no longer isolated. On both ends of Eurasia, artists share the same resources and the stage on which they display their talent open to the entire world.
  Therefore, contemporary artists are facing new challenges. During this time of globalisation, how should the artists express the characteristics of their own tradition, and at the same time find a language understandable to the audiences at the other end of the world? How can they bring forward their own artistic personalities, and at the same time, express their concerns regarding the common acceptable values? Thanks to the SAP Corporation, a program was developed to aid young Chinese artists to meet in Germany. Of the eight artists, some live in China, some continue studies in Europe, and some travel between the two regions. Their commonality is that they are all not satisfied with the traditional Chinese Art, and strive for their own artistic forms. In the exhibitions featuring these eight artists, we are presented with how they articulate their voices during the time of globalisation; without translation how they use the artistic languages to make their works understanable for audiences from various cultural backgrounds, and how they share their creativeness.
  Works of Lan Jiny show the great perspective and comprehensive sense of a Chinese female artist who originates from the broad northeast China and resides permanently in Europe. Absorbing the artistic nutrition of German paintings after the Second World War, her works reflect her thoughts and explorations regarding society, history and human life in a wide-ranging dimension.
  With brief, exact and quick touches of the brush, Liu Xue shows his ideas and combines Chinese literal paintings with German Expressionism. Possibly related with his education in stage art, the human figures by Liu Xue have the special attractiveness of posters and comics under an apparent simplicity and hasty composition. Without losing the humour, his expression is strengthened, especially by the enlarged scale of his works.
  In the bright coloured paintings of Li Pei, we can track a kind of surreal loneliness and sadness. The rustic iron toys seem to symbolize the impossibility of returning to childhood and a sentimental sense of time vanishing. The bright coloured happiness in her painting provokes our reminiscence and those elegant but unmovable women convey her reflections to the feminism.
  An interest in light and spaces dominates the installations by Li Jing. Under the function of light, real space and imagination are exchanged. And through the use of visual games, the philosophical thoughts of the artist are implied. Though the artist has never stopped to pursue aesthetic value, the materials, which seem to not be related to fine art, are endowed with remarkable aesthetic and cultural value.
  Active in the both China and Germany, Yu Xingze’s work seems to be a response to those of Li Pei. Through rediscovery and revaluation of his own memory and experience, he shows an appreciation for his environment and time. A new kind of visual form is constructed by the overlapping of his realistic technology and transparent canvas, which can be understood as an amalgamation of the sensibility of Chinese culture and the rationality of Germany philosophy.
  What Lu Dadong masters is the most superior form of Chinese art: calligraphy. Wandering without difficulty in and out of artistic calligraphy, from the aesthetic value of characters to the replacement of classic forms and further living symbols, the artist brings a multi-layered experience of Chinese characters to the public. He keeps this Chinese art of characters not only confined to writing, but enables it to be a comprehensive art of performance, action and video.
  The works of Gade show the worry of an artist from the “Roof of the World”, who is experiencing the impacts of globalisation on his native culture. The series is the result of an identity crisis and shows a newly created deity in the tradition of Tibetan art. By reconstructing and replacing the systems of worship, the new idols imply not only the loss of beliefs in Tibet, but also the illusion of belief and the emptiness of every heart in the time of commercialization.
  The paintings of Xi Danni show the confusion and dilemma of an individual in the noisy and materialized society of China from the point of view of a female artist. With forforn touches of brushes and paper-cut various corners and layers of a modernized society are presented:flourisch but lonely scenes of a city, a proud but aimless figure and suggestive but meaningless riddles.
  No matter where all these eight artists live, they all have made their own reactions to globalisation with their art. With different contents, mediums, and forms of expression, the works of these artists can be regarded as a question rather than an answer: how can originality and creativity be maintained under the pressure of irresistible globalisation? Such a question is also meaningful for the innovative corporation SAP. We can hope that they can both benefit from this exhibition and that inspiration can be found as they strive to find the golden key to success: creativity.

© Dr. Zhao Zhou
Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities

GermanChinese