Contemporary video art in China

Contemporary video art in China

Zhang Peili, Chen Shaoxiong, Yang Zhenzhong, Xu Zhe, Sun Xun, Cheng Ran, Liang Yue, Li Ming, Jiang Zhi

The Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève is proud to present a selection of films providing a real overview of contemporary video art in China. The nine films are present iconic manifestos, representative of the practice of contemporary Chinese Artists born between the 1960s and the 2000s. These renowned works, which testify to the vividness of current production in the field of moving images in China are presented for the first time in Switzerland.

The N-Minutes Video Art Festival, with which the Centre partners to present this series of films, is a public art project founded in 2011 that aims to promote video art among the wide audience and urban spaces.

As the first and unique video art festival in China, N-Minutes program includles video, new media and audio-visual art, which diffuse Chinese video art into an international platform.

Ningchun graduated from University Paris I Pantheon-Sorbonne with a Masters in Curatorial Studies in 2007. She founded and remains Chief-Curator of N-Minutes Video Art Festival in Shanghai since 2011.

Zhang Peili, Happiness, 2006, video, 6’32”
This film, by Zhang Peili (1957, Hangzhou) – the father of experimental new media art in China – juxtaposes sexy headshots of Chinese film stars, all of whom resemble Brad Pitt, with the idiotic clapping and robotic smiles of the masses.

Chen Shaoxiong, Ink Diary, 2006, animation, 3’04”
Chen Shaoxiong (1962, Pekin) is a founding member of the Big Tail Elephant Group. A digital album of this era, Ink Diary gathers ink images of the artist’s life in a non-linear three minute video. Like memory itself, it has many beginnings and endings.

Yang Zhenzhong, Light as Fuck 2, 2003, video, 5’12”
The phrase “Light as Fuck”, as in the title of Yang Zhenzhong’s digital photographic work, evokes the ease with which a finger holds the new, feather-light landscape of Shanghai’s urban construction.

Xu Zhe, Water fowl, 2014, video, 7’11”
Water fowl de Xu Zhe (1981, Taipei) explore les liens entre les objets artificiels et la nature. Un cygne noir modélisé en 3D vogue dans d’ambigus paysages naturels et anthropiques.

Sun Xun, What Happen in Past Dragon Year, 2014, animation, 10’
Sun Xun (1980, Fuxin) proposes here a film that originates from one of Magritte’s dystopian paintings, whose title – The Spontaneous Generation – means all the creatures develop from a non-living object. The film addresses the questions of body and soul and asks where our consciousness and experiences come from in today’s ever-changing world.

Cheng Ran, The Reaillution, 2017, video, 8’23”
Cheng Ran (1981, Inner Mongolia), an artist whose creative vitality is constantly evolving proposes The Reaillution, a film influenced by science fiction and wuxia martial arts fantasy fiction. It takes a cat as its central character and cuts across time, taking place in both ancient and contemporary settings.

Liang Yue, Feed, up the mountain, 2017, video, 13’57”
In Liang Yue’s (1979, Shanghai) photographic and video work, everyday life is always the main subject. Using simple materials, Liang Yue explores and captures daily routines to extend representations of varied lifestyles and natural elements.

Li Ming, The phantom that is screen, 2016, video, 7’46”
Recipient of the Hugo Boss Asian Art Award, Li Ming (1986, Yuanjiang) proposes with The phantom that is screen a reflection on the blank white or black screen which appears for a very short time, with no content at all; this white screen glows, and in this moment of pause, the audience gazes at the screen in a kind of ghostly state.

Jiang Zhi, Curtain Call, 2009, video, 15’35 ”
Jiang Zhi (1971, Yuanjiang) portrays an actress who responds to repeated curtain calls in various ways, both fascinating and charming. The artist’s interest for the stage recalls the political pageantry of a totalitarian regime; the female actress in the work possesses a lust for the stage comparables to authoritarian personalities who lust after power. Using repetition, intervals, and delays, the woman’s repetitious curtain calls create an absurd and even frightening atmosphere.

Curated by Li Ninchung

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