ON/OFF: China’s Young Artist’s in Concept and Practice, Beijing

Applauding China’s young artists, the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art opens its 2013 programme with ON/OFF: China’s Young Artist’s in Concept and Practice. Beginning on 13 January, the show will take over all of the UCCA exhibition spaces and the exhibition marks the most comprehensive survey to date of the generation of artists born after the death of Mao and the end of the Cultural Revolution. The showcase takes on gigantic proportions and will feature 50 commissioned works by 50 artists and artist groups. Entitled ON/OFF in reference to the graphical interface of a common VPN (virtual private network) software used to scale China’s Internet firewall, the exhibition is an attempt to document a new generation of artists.

ON/OFF arises from the tensions that intensified in 1999 as the Internet became widespread and a part of everyday life. Since then, the Chinese contemporary art scene has moved out of the underground and into a new commercial market. Most of the young artists on display have been formally educated and are gradually fitting into a rising gallery system. A lot of them partake in collective practice and yet represent a wide diversity of individual styles and skills. They also actively join in the new emergence of art institutions across the country, even as they question these developments. Unlike previous generations of artists, they keep up to date with current affairs and come up against distinct and similar problems and challenges.

ON/OFF is primarily a research project, drawing on preparatory visits to more than 200 artists in cities including Shanghai, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Wuhan, and Shenyang. Featured within the exhibition will be, Birdhead, Chen Wei, Chen Yujun + Chen Yufan, Shang Yixin, Shi Wanwan, Song Ta, Song Yuanyuan and Zhou Tao, amongst many others.

ON/OFF: China’s Young Artist’s in Concept and Practice, 13 January until 14 April, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, 798 Art District, No. 4 Jiuxianqiao Lu, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China 100015.

1. Chen Wei, Half of The Statue, Color Photograph, Archival Inkjet Print, 2012.
2. Fang Lu, Lovers Are Artists(Part Two),Single Channel Video, 2012.
3. Jiang Pengyi, Everything illuminates NO.9, Archival Inkjet, 2012.