Little Narratives: A Group Exhibition

Art + Shanghai explores postmodernism art

Postmodernism was born of skepticism and a suspicion of reason. It challenged the notion that there are universal certainties or truths. Often funny, or tongue-in-cheek, postmodern art can be confrontational and controversial, challenging the boundaries of established structures and belief systems. The group show I Will Be Your Eyes II: Little Narratives is Art+ Shanghai Gallery’s final exhibition of 2017 and features the works of seven emerging artists. It provides a stage for individual narratives of the seven artists who will shape the future dialogue of art in China, and in fact, more importantly, the future conversation about postmodernism in art.

The exhibition offers a visual experience of great variety and complexity. It spans a vast array of media: oil on canvas, wood sculpture, porcelain, photography, and installation.

Tan Danwu’s porcelain works are perhaps the centerpiece of the exhibition. The monochrome colors and irregular lines, against his practice of exposing the ‘brackets’ that are mostly hidden within the structure of pottery, draws his work into a conceptual space. However, the beauty of the ‘sculptures’ themselves lets the viewer enjoy the art without having to engage in the artistic debate of “what does this mean?”

Gong Zhanglei used a number of black fine tips markers to create his enchanting paintings that have a life of their own. His works are a practice of patience and rather meditative, surely for the artist, but also for the audience. The intricate detail of each piece requires devotion that most would not be able to comprehend. Chen Wen’s wood sculptures are absurd and unsettling. Are they influenced by Egyptian or Mayan culture? Chen Wen refuses to divulge any information, leaving the viewer to make up their own opinion.

Lei Lei’s work, a collapsed jar made from white sugar, radish and rice paper rotating in a box with holography, is rather obscure and elusive. It would have more resonance if it was part of a series. Postmodern art drew on the philosophy of the mid to late twentieth century and advocated that individual interpretation of our experience is more concrete than abstract principles. Indeed, the works of the seven artists vary wildly but are all connected as they each create “little narratives” in their own unique ways. The draw with this exhibition is that there is something for everyone. When you leave, you find that you want to discuss the intricacies and meanings, as each person has their own favorites for myriad reasons.


What: Little Narratives Group Exhibition

Where: Art + Shanghai Gallery, 191 Suzhou Nan Lu (near Sichuan Zhong Lu) 南苏州路191号 (近四川中路)

When: Through Saturday, December 30

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.