Long Museum celebrates 10th birthday with a visual feast
A visual feast of 260 works of art in two formidable exhibitions, "Being in the World" and "Multiple Sight," is presented to mark the 10th anniversary of the Long Museum at the West Bund.
"Being in the World"
This exhibition focuses on human figures. "It is conceived in response to our yearning for social encounters and being in the world through the prism of the artist's eye, especially under the current situation of COVID-19 pandemic," curator Iwona Blazwick said.
The exhibition is structured into four episodes.
Episode One concentrates on the single figure, including portraits by Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) and Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920). Its title, "Crystal Landscape of the Inner Body," is derived from an installation by Chen Zhen (1955-2000). One of the earliest installation artists in China, Chen created a crystal landscape of glass organs. He struggled with an incurable sickness for years, but found solace in seeing his organs as radiant and eternal through these glass organs.
The artwork in Episode Two investigates close human relationships. A relationship might be between a parent and a child, siblings, lovers, friends, or foes. For example, Fei Yifu's painting shows a peaceful, normal family scene, and Yang Feiyun's realistic brushstrokes bring to life young lovers holding hands.
Episode Three depicts groups of strangers, coworkers and employees. In Episode Four, visitors enter the realm of abstraction, where artists utilize color, light and shape to create sensory environments.
The final episode actually moves away from character identification.
"Here, art is abstract, phenomenological, unwittingly guiding the visitors to the edge of the sublime," remarked Blazwick.
Starting with "Rhymes of Beijing Opera," a 1950 work by Wu Dayu, a representative figure of modern Chinese abstract painting, the exhibition seeks to provide an opportunity for viewers to appreciate abstract works from various periods, countries, genres and forms.
In these works, the artists continually research the interrelationships of components such as line, shape, space and color, use a variety of materials and investigate visual and psychological effects, color and emotional responses.
The works of Mark Rothko (1903-1970) and Gerhard Richter, two titans in the realm of modern abstract art, are the exhibition's centerpieces.
In addition to the two exhibitions, the museum is also hosting "Becoming Harmonious – The Art of Li Hongwei." It includes over 20 sculptures and is the artist's first solo exhibition at a museum in China.
Li, born in 1980, splits his time between Beijing and New York. The artist holds an undergraduate degree in sculpture from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing and a master's degree in ceramic art from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in Alfred, New York. Li's works have been acquired by the British Museum, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Harvard Art Museum and the Carnegie Museum of Art.
Since 2009, he has experimented with various materials. In his series "Upwelling of Gravity" and "Xuan," he deconstructs the traditional form and function of ceramic containers, combining the pearlescent quality of porcelain with the mirror-like sheen of stainless steel.
Hand-wrought stainless steel is cut and welded to conform to the uneven shape of the ceramic component. As a consequence, the two components are harmoniously combined, providing the audience with a new visual experience.
• "Being in the World" and "Multiple Sights"
Date: Through February 5 (close on Mondays), 10am-5:30pm
• "Becoming Harmonious – The Art of Li Hongwei"
Date: Through February 19 (close on Mondays), 10am-5:30pm
Venue: Long Museum West Bund
Address: 3398 Longteng Ave