Writing on the Wall
Chinese New Realism and Avant-Garde in the Eighties and Nineties
Text by Thomas Berghuis, Francesca Dal Lago, Cees Hendrikse, Sabine Wang, Eduardo Welsh.
Published in conjunction with an ambitious multi-part exploration of Chinese culture in the Netherlands at The Groninger Museum and The Drents Museum in Assen, this volume considers art produced in China from the late 1970s to the mid-1990s. That country's recent avant-garde movement was spurred by the death of Mao Zedong in 1976, which unleashed a relative increase in freedoms. At first, artists continued producing state-propagated Realism, spawning a more socially engaged version of the entrenched style. After 1989, a cynical attitude emerged towards the political, economic and social systems of the recent past. The appearance of pointed references to Western consumer culture reveals one aspect of this quest for a new Chinese identity. This volume offers an art historical overview of the period, investigating a selection of works by 25 artists, including Huang Yong Ping, Ma Desheng, Luo Zhongli, Fang Lijun and Zhang Xiaogang. The publication also includes essays by journalist Eduardo Welsh, critic Francesca Dal Lago and curator Thomas Berghuis.