Tbilisi to Host Exhibition of Chinese Contemporary Conceptual Artists

Thirty-five works of eighteen world-renowned contemporary Chinese artists: Ai Weiwei, Chen Wei, Hu Xiadyuan, Li Shurui, Liu Wei, Lu Pingyuan, Lu Shangchuan, Ma Qiusha, Wang Guangle, Wang Yuyang, Xie Molin, Xu Qu, Xu Zhen, Yan Xing, Zhang Ding, Zhang Zhenyu, Zhao Yao, and Zhao, Zhao are to be showcased at an exhibition entitled ‘Constellation,’ at the Dimitri Shevardnadze National Gallery in Tbilisi from June 8 to September 11, 2017.

John Dodelande, is the organizer of and inspiration behind the exhibition, who collected the works for the exhibition from different collections, who also happens to have Georgian citizenship.  John says he contacted the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia with the idea of bringing contemporary Chinese art to Tbilisi. “It was a good idea to start an exhibition here in Georgia, in Tbilisi, before it travels further in Caucasus to Azerbaijan and then Kazakhstan” John told GEORGIA TODAY. John is an avid art collector, who is most passionate about Chinese art in particular, which gave him the impulse to share his admiration and passion with other art lovers.

“John Dodelande’s collection is truly unique, both in terms of art and in political meaning,” says Olga Babluani, founder of BiO International, a media partner of the exhibition and John’s friend. “For any individual, seeing this exhibition would be like a breath of oxygen. Economic ties between China and Georgia, particularly in terms of the strengthening of Silk Road economic relations, brought to the political agenda by the Chinese government this year, is very interesting for our future. Being actively involved in different spheres, and in this particular case through the sphere of art, is a part of this dynamic. Artists express themselves differently, their communication language is vast; they can reach millions. China is the strongest force in the world today. These artists introduce modern reality, political, social, economic… We hear it, we see it, we wake up and feel it in a noisy time machine”.

JOHN DODELANDEShe goes on to point out that not everyone is capable of feeling art; “We’re constantly improving our taste as we live. We need to learn how to understand it and learning it needs time. It’s hard to awaken great feelings in individuals crushed in everyday struggles even with art, our own feelings covered in concrete, that defer us from machines, like laughing, sleeping, pain, regret, thinking, transformation and growth, all of it is needed to be able to feel and understand the beauty, in other words, we need art for our souls, to build an anti-dictatorship,” Babluani says, explaining why, in her opinion, this exhibition is important.

The exhibition is happening for the first time in the Caucasus, an excellent opportunity to experience the best of Chinese contemporary art without leaving Georgia.   

“If they want to see good art, they have to come and see the exhibition. Some of these artists will be exhibited at the Guggenheim in six months- we brought really great artists to Georgia,” Dodelande says.

“They talk about the century, they talk about energy, they talk about today, they talk about the switch of power between the West and the East,” he adds, highlighting the messages that the artists bring up in their works.

“They have interesting things to say, I think they say more about nowadays, about your generation and their generation, dealing with isssues of everyday life, the dynamic of an everyday life in a specific context. For example, the paintings of Zhao, Zhao, are abstract, telling a personal history, switched and converted into an art object. All these things deal with a perfect intelligence, and this is what interested me,” says Ami Barak, curator, acclaimed art critic and curator from France, former director of the Frac (regional collection of contemporary art) Languedoc-Roussillon, General Associated Curator of “Public Treasuries, 20 Years of Creation in the Fracs” and  former President of the International Association of Contemporary Art Curators, former Head of the Visual Art Department at the City Council of Paris Artistic Director and Coordinator of ‘Nuit Blanche’ (“Sleepless Night” Contemporay Art Festival).

“When you prepare an exhibition you are dealing with images. These are very good works, very interesting artists from China, and I think it will be a fantastic exhibition,” Barak told us. “To make an outstanding exhibition, you have to choose a good artist and put up a display which has a certain coherence, which means making a type of display that allows the visitors to walk into the exhibition through the works and have a feeling that they get the message”

We asked him why Chinese art is so popular today. “It’s not just the art, China is a world manufacturer- it’s a very powerful economy, and they have a very long tradition of a great art, a very rich one and in the last twenty-five years it developed in an amazing way,” he says. “Today, I would say the vocabulary is global; you deal with abstraction, with realism, the painting, the sculpture, the installations, they use the same tools. The difference is in the cultural background of the artists, different political story and history, the power of the tradition, social gaps, the idea of being a part of the moment, and wherever they live, in any of the big cities in China, these artists have a very rich cultural tradition. This generation of artists is much more contemporary,” Barak said, adding that he found Georgia a fantastic country and wishes to come back to explore it more.   

By Nino Gugunishvili 

Photo:Ami Barak, John Dodelande Anna Ryaboshenko,Eka Kiknadze, Olga Babluani at the press conference.

Source: Ministry of Culture and Monuments Protection of Georgia.

08 June 2017 19:43
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