Perspectives 180 – Unfinished Country: New Video From China

When 2 Nov 2012 - 17 Feb 2013
Where Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
5216 Montrose Boulevard
Houston, TX 77006
United States
Enquiry (713)-284-8250

Huang Ran, Blithe Tragedy, 2010. Video 14:52 minutes. Courtesy the artist and Long March Space, Beijing

November 2 – February 17, 2013

Opening Reception: November 1, 6:30-9pm

Press Release:

Not long ago works in new media were unavailable and, depending on content, even illegal in China. But now the medium is at the forefront of a new generation of young artists. Formerly a curator at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, Elaine moved to China to experience first-hand the country’s rapidly evolving culture and its impact upon the production of contemporary art. What he has chronicled, first in an exhibition and later in a blog for the Hammer, is work by a new generation of artists emerging from China who are increasingly inventive, thoughtful, and masterful in their use of the medium.

Unfinished Country: New Video from China is presented in two parts. On view at CAMH is work by eleven young emerging artists from China ranging from projections to sculpture and installations. Featured artists are Chen Qiulin, Chen Zhou, Hu Xiaoyuan, Huang Ran, Jin Shan, Li Ming, Li Ran, Lu Yang, Ma Qiusha, Sun Xun, and Yan Xing.

A separate but integral component of the exhibition is a selection of cinematic shorts that will screen at Asia Society Texas Center. The two-part screening features work from artists Cheng Ran, Chen Xiaoyun, Wang Qingsong, Yang Fudong, Yu Ying, Zhai Chenglei, and Zhang Ding, among others. The screenings are on Sunday, December 2 and Sunday, January 6, both at 2PM.

“The title Unfinished Country comes from a video of the same name by Yu Ying, a recent graduate of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. His video is based on an unfinished painting from the Cultural Revolution era in China. I borrowed his title intending it to portray contemporary China in a broader sense—the country is in transition in every respect. Unfinished Country provides us a small window through which to view what is going on in the minds and lives of these artists and to look at the ancient country of China as it rises to a new position in the twenty-first century,” says Elaine.

James Elaine is an independent curator who has lived and worked in China since 2008. Formerly, he was curator at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and the Drawing Center in New York. For over 20 years, he has focused on the work of emerging artists. His most recent curatorial projects include Antony (2012) at the Hammer Museum and In a Perfect World…. (2011) at Meulensteen Gallery, New York, which featured painting, sculpture, video, and installation work from China. Elaine has written and lectured extensively on contemporary art from Asia and is a faculty member for Art International Residency Projects in Beijing. In 2008, he was the recipient of the prestigious Ordway Prize.

Unfinished Country: New Video from Chinais accompanied by an illustrated, small-format Perspectives publication that includes an introduction by the exhibition’s curator James Elaine, as well an essay by Su Wei, an independent art critic and curator based in Beijing. Su Wei received his Ph.D. degree from Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in German studies and is a contributor to Independent Criticism and LEAP. He was a co-curator of Little Movements: Self-Practice in Contemporary Art presented at OCT Contemporary Art Terminal (OCAT), Shenzhen, China (2011) as well as the 7th Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale Accidental Message: Art is Not a System, Not a World at OCAT (2012). The twenty-one-page catalogue will contain a checklist of works in the exhibition as well as information on the project’s cinematic section, and short biographies about each artist.

For more information please click here.