A week or two ago AMM and I were invited to the opening of an exhibition, and just to show you that I am not a complete philistine when it comes to the arts I thought I should tell you about it. First I need to give you a bit of background information.
The Red Gate Gallery opened in Beijing 20 years ago – as far as I know it was the first independent art gallery in the city handling the work of modern Chinese artists.This year being their 20th Anniversary, they have mounted a whole series of exhibitions in different venues around the city. These are exhibitions of the work of artists they have exhibited over the past 20 years, many of whom were young unknowns when they took them on, and who are now extremely well-known, not-to-say famous, whether they be painters, sculptors, photographers or anything in-between.
This particular retrospective exhibition is of some of the work of Chen Wenling
who is now considered one of the top 10 sculptors working in China today. The exhibition is mounted in the large foyer of The Opposite House, which regularly displays art works, and the exhibition continues until 30th September.
The Red Boys is a series of sculptures produced by Chen Wenling in the late 1990s – I have read much about the thinking behind the series, but if I tried to articulate it I would instantly become a candidate for Pseud’s Corner in Private Eye! so I will leave you to your own thoughts. However, I must admit I like the statues. There is an innocence which appeals to me. And I should remind you that the colour red is regarded as both symbolic and auspicious in China. Chen Wenling was born in 1969 in the small town of Anxi in Fujian Province. Although his parents were poor they always encouraged him in his artistic endeavors and eventualy he gained a place at the art school in Xiamen.
He is now well known in the US art world, and has had many successful exhibitions in the USA – one of his most controversial pieces was inspired by the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scandal and was titled: What you see may not be real