Emergence - A Contemporary Chinese Art Exhibition


Art has the wonderful capacity to bring new elements into the world, both physically and mentally. Artists give various substances new form and, at the same time, produce images that affect our perception of reality. As we humans develop our ability to express our identities and to understand ourselves, we inevitably give up some of our sense of the world's integrity. In order to create, one has to detach oneself from one’s surroundings. However, and paradoxically, over time, an artist inevitably turns the creative point of view away from the individual towards the general; seeking to show what is being interpreted through their wider picture.

Emergence theory in physics, sociology and ecology claims that a system of elements is greater than the sum of those elements: a forest isn’t merely the sum of the trees inside it, an organism isn’t just a sum of its cells. There is something larger, hidden,which seems to glue existence together. This approach also reflects the ancient Chinesewisdom of “Out of Tao, One is born; Out of One, Two; Out of Two, Three; Out of Three, the created universe.” The eight Chinese artists, invited to participate Emergence project, explore the relationships between the parts and the entity on different levels: human-nature (Li Wang), personal memory – collective memory (Li Hongbo and Zhang Chunhua), spirit-body (Zhou Song), private-universal (Wang Fei and Jia Xinyu), visual perception of form – interpretation of the content (Yang Shuwen and Jia Shanguo). The sum of their pieces produces not just a range of independent statements, but aholistic and semantic field of thought.

The power of culture should not be underestimated in the digital age, when new trends/ideas are materialising and spreading at a terrific pace. Artists are becoming seismographs that register and record these trends. They create the aesthetic distance, essential for critical reflection and trace the emerging phenomenon. Through the dialogue between material and form, craftsmanship and conception, history and contemporaneity, the contemporary Chinese artists in this exhibition present artistic thinking that is humanistic, free, decentralized and correlative.