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The Many Viewpoints of A Moment in Beijing

The Many Viewpoints of A Moment in Beijing

January 27, 2020 // by Shana Dickler

A Moment in Beijing: Su Xinping, Weng Yungpeng and Jizi is a unique opportunity to explore the world of contemporary Chinese art from the diverse perspectives of three artists. A Moment in Beijing is on view until February 2, so don't miss your chance to see this exciting exhibition.

Jizi_Sky-Aura-_-ink-on-paper-_-195-x-184-cm-_-2009_H450
© JIZI, Sky Aura, 2009. Ink on paper, 76 ¾ x 72 ½ inches. Courtesy of Wang Chunchen.

While the three featured artists, Jizi (1941-2015, Longguan, Hebei), Su Xinping (b. 1960, Jining, Inner Mongolia) and Weng Yunpeng (b. 1964, Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province), all explore contemporary issues and modes of expression, they also maintain strong roots in their cultural heritage. Each artist expresses this in different ways. Whether it be through references to traditional Chinese landscape painting, memories of a childhood homeland, or a commentary on the changing environment contrasting old and new, all three have a strong connection to their cultural and physical landscape. 

Jizi, as the oldest artist in the grouping, has the more traditional approach.  He uses an ink and brush technique similar to what was used in traditional Chinese landscape painting called shanshui (山水). However, Jizi moves away from the compositional rules of shanshui and uses a more surrealistic approach to his landscapes. He is very much influenced by Taoist thought when approaching a work, specifically focusing on the ideas of harmony and balance. In his own words, “I seek as an artist the unification of Heaven and Earth and Man, insight to the Dao, the material universe and myself.” (Brubaker)

Su Xinping Gallery Image
Works by Su Xinping on view in A Moment in Beijing at MOCA Jacksonville. Photo by Doug Eng.

Su Xinping, unlike Jizi, moves away from traditional techniques and universal narratives, and instead creates personal landscapes. He uses taps his subconscious and integrates memories of growing up in Inner Mongolia, presenting these inner landscapes in a fragmented form, yet the pieces coming together to make up a whole. The fragmented compositions are very similar to how memories are recalled in our minds. Memories come back in small snippets and flashbacks, but they ultimately together they make up our personal experience. The exhibition includes a video demonstrating his technique, and offers an opportunity for the visitors to create their own landscapes in an interactive installation in the gallery.

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Visitors to the museum can create their own works inspired by Su Xinping, which are then transmitted to the television and then remain on view in the gallery. Photo by Doug Eng.

In Weng Yunpeng's work, as in his “Li Ze West Street, Wang Jing” series, we see a different kind of focus on landscape. Unlike the other two artists in the exhibition, he portrays the urban landscape. Each of his large scale street scenes feature an illuminated television screen that draws the viewer away from the actual landscape and instead into a global environment through the media. 

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© WENG YUNPENGLi Ze West Street, Wang Jin (detail), 2007. Oil on canvas, 110 1/4 x 55 inches. Courtesy of Li Ji and Marv Wolpa.

He is commenting on the media's ability to pull our attention from our immediate surroundings into a generalized universal world that on one hand seems highly connected globally, but leaves us detached from our actual physical environment. 

A Moment in Beijing in on view until February 2. 

Support for this exhibition was made in part by CAFA Art Museum, the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, Dr. Barbara Sharp and Dr. Todd Sack, the City of Jacksonville, the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville, the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, The National Endowment of the Arts, and the University of North Florida.

 Sources:

Brubaker, David A. Jizi and Domains of Space: Dao, Natural Environment and Self. Weismen Art Museum. 2019.

https://wam.umn.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/BRUBAKER-JIZI-AND-DOMAINS-OF-SPACE.pdf

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