August 07, 2015

Take the opportunity to see - China 8

China 8 - a mesmerizing exhibition 

Contemporary Chinese art - in Germany 2015

Hand holding chinese fortune cookies and a note "China 8"
CHINA 8: Overview - Blicke auf China (Ausstellungsansicht) 
© NRW-Forum Düsseldorf, 
Foto: Andreas Kuschner / ALIMONIE 
If you join the German tour, or if you join me for the English one - that's not what matters. At least not to me. I'd love to have you on the English tour, of course - I get so much energy from doing these tours, and due to the audience, no tour is the same - but what really matters to me is that you come and see what China8 has to offer. 

China8 is indeed unique and it is an exhibition that deserves your attention! You never know when you will get the opportunity to see and learn so much again, and I recommend taking a tour. In English or in German - just come an join us! If you come to NRW-Forum in Düsseldorf for the English tour you'll be listening to me, while one of the other excellent guides are doing the tours in German. 

China 8 is the biggest exhibition of Chinese Contemporary Art ever put together - 8 cities in North-Rhein Westphalia are participating, 9 museums all together, and around 120 of different artists - I wrote about it on the blog before

I have lived in Taiwan myself, and spent a considerable time in South East Asia, on my own, with my friends and my family, privately as well as on business - in China, Hong Kong, Macao, but also in other parts of South East Asia, where the Chinese presence is high, and throughout the years I have seen many art exhibitions and attended many art seminars - I have always had a strong interest in art - and I can honestly say that the way I felt when I first entered the museum and spotted the first painting I saw, was quite special, and quite unique. It is hard to describe - it was the painting "2008" by Lü Shanchuan, 吕山川 - and it was as if I had been pulled back to Beijing, I could hear the chatter, smell the food, feel the anticipation - the painting shows a banquet hall during the Olympics in Beijing 2008.

Su Xinping On The Run, 2010 Oil on canvas 250 x 250 cm
© Su Xinping
And the more time I spend with the art works, and the more I read, and talk to people, the more I learn - because there are always new things to learn, aren't there -  the more convinced I am that this show not to be missed.

It can indeed be challenging to take in Chinese art, if you don't have have any connection into the culture, and in to the history, but that is one thing the guided tours can help you with.  

What I really love about China 8 is the variation - there are so many different types of art represented, and the artists are from different parts of China and carry THEIR special history with them, their culture, and their view on life. While the majority of the artists are schooled in traditional Chinese art, they have found their own ways to express themselves.

The overview at NRW-Forum Düsseldorf is curated by Professor Walter Smerling, who, together with the rest of the team, really have put together an interesting collection. 

So many people asked me which piece is my favourite, both at the NRW-Forum Düsseldorf, and from the full exhibition, but I can honestly not say; Each piece have it's charm, and each art type has it's appeal. There are so many to pick from, and when I found one that I feel is my favourite, I take a few steps, walk in to the next room, see another artwork in a new light, see a new detail - and then I decide that is my favourite. Only for history to repeat itself minutes later. 

CHINA 8: Overview - Blicke auf China (Ausstellungsansicht) 
© NRW-Forum Düsseldorf, Foto: Andreas Kuschner / ALIMONIE
Huang Rui (黄锐)  with his Four Red,  Lü Shanchuan (吕山川) with 2008, Shang Yang (尚扬) with "Dong Qichang Project", and many many more - they all have their story to tell. But I have to say that I am exceptionally fascinated with the portraits you see above, "My Literary Teacher" and "Rui Yuan", both done by the artist Zhang Huan. I love these paintings because they are so beautiful, but there is a lot more to them than that; They are painted with ash, and it is not just the technique that I find fascinating. 

These are artists that work with paint, however I am equally fascinated by and drawn to the photography, the video installations, the sculptures and all the rest - but it's not possible to mention them all, go and see for yourself and decide your own favourite! 

You have nine different museums to cover - and you have just over a month, if you start today - the exhibition closes mid September.

The museums are (the links will lead you to the museum)   

Each museum shows a different type of Chinese contemporary art; Museum Folkwang photography, Kunstmuseum Gelsenkirchen Chinese ink painting and calligraphy, and so forth - the China 8 website will tell you more about it.

For the tours at NRW-Forum Düsseldorf; There is ONE last public tour in English scheduled, on August 28 - but there is also a possibility to book private tours - contact the museum for that (link).

There are of course also tours in German offered - and not just tours, several other events as well - have a look at the Calendar for China 8 - directly on the website for China 8 exhibition*. The next tour in German is today, Friday August 7.

ALL photos in this post are part of the press material from NRW-Forum Düsseldorf, for China 8

*Notice! I take no responsibility for what's written on the websites of the Museums and of the exhibition, and I am not involved in the planning of these events. I would like to encourage you to find out more though - and who knows, maybe I'll see you at one of the other events, when I come there as a visitor! 

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