February 23, 2006 - Kunstmuseum Bern - Guangzhou – Cantones Artists in the Sigg Collection
February 23, 2006

Guangzhou – Cantones Artists in the Sigg Collection

O Zhang, Horizons, 2005, Detail photoinstallation, Sigg Collection

Guangzhou – Cantones Artists in the Sigg Collection
Opening: 10 March, 2006 18 20 hrs
Wednesday-Sunday 10 17 hrs
Tuesday 10 21 hrs

Kunstmuseum Bern
Hodlerstrasse 8-12
CH-3000 Bern 7
Ph: 41 31 328 09 44

Guangzhou Cantonese Artists in the Sigg Collection
Kunstmuseum Bern, 11 March 7 May 2006

The very successful exhibition “Mahjong. Contemporary Chinese Art from the Sigg Collection” (2005) presented by the Kunstmuseum Bern offered a panoramic view of contemporary Chinese art. As of this year, Uli and Rita Sigg are making further works from their collection available for an annual” Window on China” in the museum. The series commences with the presentation of works by Cantonese artists that have never previously been seen outside China.

Guangzhou, capital of the Guangdong province, is situated in the Pearl River Delta and is one of the most important cities in Southern China. Canton, bordering on Hong Kong, has long been a testing station for economic reform and more open policies. This resulted in frenetic urban development during the 1990s. Rem Koolhaas studied the metropolitan area of the Pearl River Delta and introduced his findings to the public at the Documenta in 1998. Guangzhou possesses an extremely lively art scene, the major characters of which are represented in the Sigg Collection with their main works and “modern” media, appropriate to Canton, of photography, video and installation art – the painter Duan Jianyu is therefore something of an exception. Alternative art production locations with national significance in China are also represented here, such as Vitamin Creative Space or Librerìa Borges. Within the framework of the Biennale in Venice, the exhibition “Canton Express” curated by Hou Hanru in 2003, offered a first, vivid insight into the art scene of Guangzhou.

The art scene of Canton was greatly influenced by the Big Tail Elephant Group, founded in 1991. Until 1996, the members Lin Yilin, Chen Shaoxiong, Liang Juhui and Xu Tan all contributing with older as well as new works to our exhibition organized a yearly exhibition in a public place (bar, underground parking lot, hairdressing salon etc.) or on the street and regarded themselves as witnesses to the explosive social development in Chinese society. Cao Fei is one of the most important video artists in China. Together with Ou Ning she has documented the urbanization process using the former village San Yuan Li, which is now integrated into the metropolis Guangzhou, as an example and creating a cinematic masterpiece in black and white. Zheng Guogu combines tradition with the crazy present in his work. In the exhibition he shows a walk-in landscaped garden with trees, paths and a pond, the water of which is made of moving paper with crumpled works of calligraphy. From O Zhang, who studied art in London, we are showing the new 21-piece photograph installation Horizons: Rural children gaze distrustfully, innocently defiant at the camera do they embody Chinas future? The Bernese exhibition also combines one of the most famous paintings from the Cultural Revolution: Mao inspecting rural Guangdong by Chen Yanning (1972) with photographs by Zeng Han, Xu Peiwu and Yan Changjiang who bear witness to the absurd burgeoning of urbanization.

Kunstmuseum Bern
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