Tuesday, January 20, 2009

2006 - 07 - China Today: Mark Leong and the Chinese Artist Network

Title: China Today: Mark Leong and the Chinese Artist Network
Dates: December 21, 2006 - March 23, 2007
Location: San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery (City Hall) 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Pl., SF, CA

In 2007 the San Francisco Art Commission Gallery has joined forces with the San Francisco-based nonprofit PhotoAlliance to program Art at City Hall. Our first collaborative curatorial effort is China Today, which features two photographic exhibitions, a solo exhibition by Bay Area artist Mark Leong, and a group exhibition featuring Chinese artists represented by the Fremont-based Chinese Artist Network.

The Heaviness of Consumption
Photographs by Mark Leong
Arriving in mainland China by chance just a day after the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, Mark Leong stayed to explore the contradictions of a rapidly changing but still intensely traditional Chinese society. Living in Beijing and traveling across China over the past sixteen years, he has captured images that astonish both in their power and in their access to subtle currents of everyday life - official and underground. His recent body of color work, The Heaviness of Consumption, documents the effects of China’s growing market culture on both rural and urban Chinese. Since the early 1990s, China has emerged from socialist isolation to open shop as the world’s factory -- the source, it seems, of nearly everything manufactured on earth. Now, after a generation of profit and prosperity, the Chinese super-producers are also becoming mega-consumers. No longer limited to needs dictated (and provided for) by the Communist Party, this is a new era of personal choices and desires, broadened by the forces of technology, urbanization, globalization and the one-child policy. Everything -- from education to sex -- is a commodity. And as the wealth distributes itself unevenly across this vast population, the greatest fear is to be left behind.

New Photography
Presented by the Chinese Artist Network
Artists: Chih Chang, Liang Ma (Maleonn), Jin Meng, Hongbin Sun, Danxiong Wang, Fei Yang & Jungang Zhang.
New Photography, presented by Chinese Artist Network, features a wide variety of photographic works by young Chinese artists. CAN, a Fremont-based nonprofit organization, is committed to promoting the work of emerging Chinese artists through providing both exhibition opportunities and a strong Internet presence on their web site. The works in this exhibition represent a recent movement by young Chinese artists away from traditional photographic constraints toward more conceptual and experimental styles of photography. Although China has a voracious consumer culture, there are still very few galleries that exhibit cutting edge photography, so most of the represented artists are establishing their careers through exhibitions in Europe and the US.