Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Shanghai Avant-Garde


Iron Bird-Drum, 2000

Go Sightseeing of Human Life, 2006

Mister Lu Xun, 2007

Yu Xiaofu was born in Born in Changzhou, Jiangsu in 1950 and Graduated from the Department of Fine Arts, Shanghai Theatre Academy in 1978, after traveling to England in 1988 to study painting and sculpture. He is now a professor at the Shanghai Institute of Oil Painting & Sculpture as well as Shanghai University. Yu Xiaofu has made a name for himself as a professional oil painter. He is a firm believer in traditional art skill and has always put great emphasis on the importance of technique and composition. Much of Yu Xiaofu's early canvas works were heavily influenced by Russian realism. His canvases commonly focus on political subject matter and consist of famous historical figures painted alongside himself. His work signifies a faith in humanity and hope for the modern dislocated society. In 1983 his painting entitled, Knocking on the Door Lightly was selected for the National Oil Painting Album, won the Shanghai Culture and Art Excellence Award, and quickly earned him national popularity. That same year Xiaofu also participated in the infamous “Phase 1983 Painting Experimental Show” (later referred to as the "Ten Painters Show"). The show featured abstract works by several young artists and was immediately shut down by authorities after opening. It was later referred to in the government’s anti-ideological pollution campaign and criticized repeatedly in the media. Yu Xiaofu went on to participate in many exhibitions including "The First National Youth Fine Art Exhibition" in 1985 and the "First Chinese Oils Exhibition" in 1987. In 1998 he was elected one of the top ten national artists. Just this year Xiaofu participated in "Turning Abstract: A Retrospective of Shanghai Experimental Art 1976-1985" at the Zendai Museum of Modern Art.


Mao Talking with the Peasants in Shaoshan, 1991

Andy Warhol – Mao, 2002

Yimeng Shan, 2003

Yu Youhan was born in Shanghai in 1943. He graduated from the Central Academy of Art & Design, Beijing, in 1973. Today he lives and works in Shanghai. Yu Youhan’s work has been shown several times nationally and internationally. During the avant-garde movement Yu Youhan emerged as one of the few political pop artists of the time. His work from this period fused Chinese iconography with Western artistic technique. He blends contradictory visual traditions, such as in his much acclaimed series of Mao portraits that earned him fame. Yu Youhan began his career during the Cultural Revolution however, and much of his work from this period is directly influenced by political propaganda imagery and socialist realism. Lately he has shifted his artistic approach and now creates landscape paintings that resemble a forgotten utopia. Throughout his career Yu Youhan has examined the structure and shaping of cultural identity in China through an exploration of various visual styles.

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