From Inside the Body: Chinese New Photography and Video


October 20, 2000 – January 6, 2001

Curator: Toshio Shimizu

Assistant Curator: Zhang Li

Artists: Rong Rong, Liu Zheng, Hong Lei, Zhuang Hui, Zhao Bandi, Zheng Guogu, Feng Qianyu, Hong Hao, Wang Jinsong, Zhao Liang and Xu Zhen

ISE Cultural Foundation Gallery is pleased to announce a new series of exhibitions focused on Asian Contemporary Art which introduce the dynamism of Asian cultures. The exhibition organized by ISE Cultural Foundation with a grant from Japan Foundation (Beijing Office) and by curator, Tohio Shimizu and assistant curator, Zhang Li. The first exhibition (dated from October 20 to January 6) will show a new generation of artists in China.

“From Inside the Body”, the first show of the series, introduces photographic and digital image srtists who are ROng Rong, Liu Zheng, Hong Lei, Zhuang Hui, Zhao Bandi, Zheng Guogu, Feng Qianyu, Hong Hao, Wang Jinsong, Zhao Liang and Xu Zhen. They became prominent in China in the latter half of the 1990′s. They express their individual inner worlds using images; what they express is coming “from the inside the body”.

The artist’s emergencies came about through a combination of two main factors. One factor is that historically radical changes in photography and digital imaging concurred with the time when these artists became artistically mature. Revolutionary developments in digitalization caused essential changes in the technologies of processing, communicating, storing, and visualizing images. Image handling became much easier for artists. Another factor is that they became artists at a time when the Chinese people became more aware of individuality. Individualization rapidly progressed in large cities in the 1990′s. This is clearly reflected in paintings exhibited during this period. Even officially acknowledged artists, who used to work in approved social motifs, transformed themselves into painters working with personal themes. As awareness shifted from superficial political struggle to individual inner quest, it was natural for the young artists to visualize their acute sensitivities.

Thus, photography and visual images, which had originally been media for the masses, were applied to artistic expressions of the inner world. Photography shifted from documentaries to more artistically accomplished works. Video began to be used by artists in the mid-90′s and it didn’t take much time for leading artists to create experimental visual images in order to express their individual psyches. Artists of this show could be described as “artists expressing their individual inner worlds and has his/her own content with his/her own unique proclivity and possibility”. What certain is that each artists found their place of expression in NEW PHOTO and, in the future, they will pursue their own paths in order to find their own individual true “selves”.

Review: The New York Times, November 10, 2000, by Holland Cotter

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