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85's Fine Arts Movement and the Contemporary Issues

Author: Wei Guangqing 1995

It has been ten years since 85's fine arts movement.  The Chinese avant-garde art gradually matures after several presentations on the international stage.  But lots of questions emerged at its heel.  How do the Chinese avant-garde artists face their own problems?  How do they move forward?  I don't think the problem is just about the artists themselves.

In the mid-1980s, Chinese contemporary avant-garde artists had relived the western modernism in a few years.  The Chinese Modern Art Exhibition in 1989 is enough to explain it.  The most Chinese avant-garde artists were aware that modernism was at the end of its road, and had changed from the metaphysical reason, life consciousness, and the originality of art language to the concerns about the practical issues of contemporary society.  It was at the same position as the western avant-garde artists' thought after Cold War.  This is the reason why western society paid more attention to the Chinese avant-garde art these years and also the reason why the Chinese avant-garde artists showed in international exhibitions many times.

Over the years, I adjusted myself several times, no matter if it is on the cultural direction or the material language, I emphasized clarity and certainty, clearing up the original meanings of works based on their own cultural history, posing contemporary questions about life and culture.  I hope to show people the rules of social reality that contemporary artists accepted and find evidence of a new image of cultural identity.

In my opinion, a contemporary artist should hold a more realistic attitude and a more humanistic lifestyle, but not necessarily go as far as suffering for them.  Artist's unique language certainly is not merely considered from "the logical" angle or the generality of "the exposition" angle; it should use "the work" to bring time and space into cultural inspection.

Only bravely abandoning the standards of aesthetics and considering reality in the form would it be easy for us to penetrate into the cultural background of human beings.

Published on "Gallery", 1995
Edited by Lin Sophia Ma, September 2007

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