Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The China Painters by Jankowski

If you missed it!


Opening Reception: Saturday, February 24th from 6-9 pm.
Gallery hours: Tuesday through Saturday, ten to six.

For The China Painters, Jankowski traveled to Dafen, a suburb of
Shenzhen, China that operates like a paintings sweatshop. There,
workshops have been for the last twenty years replicating western
masterpieces, primarily for North American and European hotel lobby's,
producing an estimated 60 percent of the world's cheap oil paintings.
An artisan recently told Spiegel Online he "wants to get into the
business of oil paintings the way McDonalds got into the business of
fast food." The Communist Party of China (CCP) has lauded the
painters' economic boom, erecting an art museum in the village center.
This massive modernist building, which Jankowski visited and
photographed, is currently without a director or a collection, despite
its impending grand opening. Jankowski interviewed artisans, asking
what they would choose for the institution to exhibit on the walls;
none of the participants had been to a museum before. They remade his
photographs of the raw museum interior, inserting their fantasy
artworks. The resulting imagery varies from landscapes to family
portraits, to traditional Chinese works and "sexy" paintings; some
impart political criticism, such as Three Leaders, of former Communist
leader Den Xiaoping in conversation with China's current President and
Vice President, or Liberty, a replica of Delacroix's Liberty Leading
the People (1830). Via Jankowski's invitation to participate in his
own artistic practice, he gives the Dafen painters a voice, and
moreover, a challenge to generate an original painting for the first
time. The project confronts professional boundaries, and highlights
the larger issue surrounding modalities of mass production in the
twenty-first century global marketplace.

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