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Magazine

CULTURE | 01.04.2016

Art Dept: Three Exciting Artists Discoveries from China

For Andrea Karg art, especially contemporary art, is a constant source of inspiration, both for her design process and for her personal life. We’ve already presented some of her favourite artists in our Art Dept. This time we are excited about not just one but three visionary creatives from China.

While their artistic styles and biographies couldn’t be more different, their works nevertheless complement each other in a wonderful triad of expressive use of form, poetic message, and plenty of “wow” effect. Works by all three could recently be seen at the Art Paris Art Fair at the booth of Brussels-based gallery ifa, which has a second branch in Shanghai. Founder Alexis Kouzmine-Karavaïeff combines big names from China and Korea with exciting European talents in his portfolio, with works in all kinds of media, including painting, photography, video art, installations and performance art.

The theme of this year’s presentation by the gallery for Art Paris 2016 was graphical parallel worlds that draw viewers inside and guide them through their refined structures. In addition to three Korean artists – Ju Young Ban, who lives in Brooklyn, Yulim Song and Jinhwa Jung – Chinese artist Dai Guangyu and his countrymen the Gao Brothers caught our eyes as well as Lithuanian artist Zane Mellupe. The latter even showed cobalt-blue knitwork and knitting needles cast in plastic. Very fitting for this triple tip by the Allude team.



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Dai Guangyu (born in 1955) began to study Chinese calligraphy when he was only five years old. Instead of devoting himself entirely to traditional crafts, however, he plunged head-on into the New Wave movement of the late eighties and the avant-garde scene of Sichuan Province. Later, in the 1990s, he discovered the body as an artistic medium. His performances questioned the social order of his homeland, its ethics, and the distribution of power between culture and commerce.

Since 2003, the year of his move to Beijing, Dai Guangyu has refined his stylistic palette of poetry, symbols and codes. His credo is: all solid forms exist only for the moment, and all circumstances are in constant transformation. To express this belief he draws from the rich heritage of China and combines its elements with contemporary scepticism and expressive imagination.



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Zane Mellupe (born in 1981) has focused on the artistic cosmos of photography since she was 14 years old. She thinks almost exclusively in images, Mellupe once said – first in Riga, later in London and now in Shanghai. In one of her photographic series she serves as her own motive, while another deals with social issues.

In both cases she mixes different techniques and works towards achieving a dynamic fusion of the image with the pictured body and object. Where does the photo end and the subject begin, and where do they become one? Other interests of the artist are holistic urban development in her adopted homeland and intensive research projects within her favourite discipline of photography. More info on her and her work can be found here.

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The Gao Brothers consist of Gao Zhen and Gao Qiang (born in 1956 and 1962, respectively), who are brothers in real life and live in Beijing. For over 20 years they have devoted their work to man’s place in society and the limits of people’s fraternisation, especially but not only in China. Their father’s death caused by the Mao regime and their own participation in the protests on Tian’anmen Square are a clear influence in their artistic mission.

Their approach is varied; the duo uses photography, film, painting, sculpture and performance. The two brothers are also active as critics and curators. Their works are part of the collections of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, the China National Museum, the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
 More info on their work can be found here.

Photos: IFA Gallery; Dai Guangyu; Zane Mellupe; Gao Brothers