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Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Changing face of Chinese Photography

Xiaolu Guo comes from a generation of writers and artists from the 1990s - a period when the work coming out of China (actually it was mostly staying in China back then) was rough, raw, very performance based and confronted aspects like forced abortions, Chinese attitudes to women and state-sponsored oppression head on.

In 2006, Wu Hung, a curator and academic, said, "Art is so dynamic in China everything moves so fast, so art captures this sense of social transformation. Chinese artists make their works very quickly. there is not a sense of perfectionism, so work can be very huge but crudely made which gives it a strange sense of power. It can just be made for a couple of days exhibition, then the artist moves onto something new, so everything has a raw sense of immediacy and energy.

My feeling is this energy won’t last forever. They will slow down and pay more attention to technique. Another factor is the government is starting to sponsor this type of show and as this happens art becomes less underground than it was in the past. It’s good because this get money and access to space, but originally they identified themselves as underground but as they join the government this may be compromised. They are not exactly censored, but they do not express themselves in the same way. It’s very subtle change. Another factor is commercial. this can also change an artist’s outlook. It’s a double edged sword."

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