Shanghai exhibition showcases best of young artists

Tan Weiyun
The 17th Shanghai Youth Art Exhibition features 169 artworks from many artistic disciplines, including traditional painting, sculpture, and animation.
Tan Weiyun

The 17th Shanghai Youth Art Exhibition opens on Saturday at the Liu Haisu Art Museum.

The biennial has gathered 2,256 individual and group works by young artists around the world. A total of 169 pieces have been selected, covering a wide range of creative disciplines.

"This reflects contemporary artistic trends as well as the unique perspectives and creativity of the younger generation," said Lu Haisu Art Museum director Bao Weihua.

The Shanghai Youth Art Exhibition, which began during the early years of China's reform and opening-up, has a long and illustrious history spanning 40 years. It embodies generations of artistic beliefs and practices, and it has served as a stepping stone for many budding young artists.

The variety of artistic expression on display this year is a standout aspect of the exhibition. Traditional Chinese painting, oil painting, printmaking, sculpture, watercolor, mixed media, photography, video, installation, and new media are among the visual arts represented in this edition, providing young artists with a diverse range of artistic avenues through which to express their thoughts and ideas.

Ni Wei's ink painting "Wind from the Sea" depicts a typical Shanghai riverbank in the evening. The artistic style is minimalistic, with basic line work and flat colors that show the subject without too many embellishments.

Shanghai exhibition showcases best of young artists

Ink painting "Wind from the Sea" by Ni Wei

"It doesn't convey profound ideas, concepts, or metaphors. It's a pure, untainted attempt to capture the scene on canvas," the 44-year-old artist explained.

In terms of form and technique, it maintains a remarkable simplicity, primarily employing a single-line approach to directly outline the scene, devoid of complex processes, and everything is laid bare without disguise.

"It was created in a more relaxed manner, which, of course, revealed some flaws. But it also shows sincerity and genuineness," he added.

The oil painting "The Living Room B" by South Korean artist Kim Sunhee explores the lives of modern people who rely on masks and multi-identities.

The dolls in her painting, with their closed mouths and lifeless eyes, represent individuals in modern society. She hopes to depict the inner world of those battling in the concrete jungle, who become increasingly lonely and miserable, through these doll-like creatures.

Shanghai exhibition showcases best of young artists

South Korean artist Kim Sunhee's oil painting "The Living Room B"

In an oversized format with knife cuts, Wu Jiantang's woodcut work "Branches in the Wilderness" merges personal experiences, hometown nostalgia, and imagined ambitions to create a "dramatic" clash between truth and imaginings, past and present.

"Traditional Chinese woodcut prints have gradually faded from the contemporary art scene in the digital age. I am trying to resurrect the art form that is defined by the struggle between each cut," Wu said.

Exhibition info:

Date: October 21-November 29

Venue: Liu Haisu Art Museum

Address: 1609 Yan'an Rd W.

延安西路1609号

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