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Chambers Fine Art
Red No.1-D, Cao Changdi,
Chaoyang District,
Beijing, 100015, China   map * 
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River Flows East: Landscape of the Imagination
by Chambers Fine Art
Location: Chambers Fine Art Beijing
Date: 31 Jul - 28 Aug 2010

Chambers Fine Art Beijing is pleased to announce a special preview showing of River Flows East, a group exhibition of Chinese contemporary art commissioned by The Collection the County Museum of Lincolnshire, England.

The Yangtze River flows, like most Chinese rivers, towards the East. It rises in the Tibetan Highlands, loops the breadth of the Chinese hinterland, and drains into the Yellow Sea through one of the world’s greatest river deltas. Along its route this vast water network generates a wide range of physical and imaginary landscapes. It has created some of China’s most celebrated scenery – both natural and manmade. It forms the mental backdrop for some China’s most significant cultural achievement and is the theatre for the enactment the most notable historical incident of the Chinese imagination. As one of the main channels for communication across the continent the river has also long been - usually in counter flow from East to West - the chief agent for the exchange of ideas and of manufactured goods. This phenomenon is most spectacularly witnessed in the 21st century with the current fast paced process of industrialization and mass urbanization.

River Flows East charts the metaphorical journey of the river through recent works by some of China’s most notable contemporary artists. Luo Yongjin’s photo montage screen of the historic Tibetan town of Xigatse is a fractured and recomposed vision of a distant and different place. His ancient style bronzes of landmark buildings of 21st century Shanghai add an ancient patina to new city skyline. Wu Jian'an, in a large format highly colored paper cut collage work suggests folk traditions located deep in mountains or in collective memories but not necessarily represented in the old literati’s study. Hong Lei is an artist who is deeply concerned with questions of landscape and culture and his Tai Hu Stones series draws on his knowledge of classical Southern Chinese gardening aesthetics. His circular photographic works After Song Dynasty Painting wistfully recall a gentler pleasure in nature. Shanghai based painters Shen Fan and Huang Yuanqing both draw on the traditions of Modernism and abstraction in their home city – Shen leaning towards minimal graphic clarity and Huang towards an expressive emotional abstraction informed by his calligraphic practice. Qiu Zhijie in his large scale ink works on paper 30 Letters to Qiu Jiawa examines a more recent social and political history of the Yangtze in his series focused on the significance and multi layered meanings of the NanjingYangtze River Bridge. Yang Yongliang’s Phantom Landscapes series of finely constructed photographic images deptict ideal classical mountain landscapes in the extraordinary process of becoming dense, modern Chinese cities. Hangzhou native

River Flows East seeks to demonstrate ways in which these artists are inheritors of a both Classical and Modern Southern Chinese aesthetic. It offers ways in which these Chinese artists are responding to the urgent globalized issues related to the social and environmental demands of economic development and the loss of physical landscapes dear to the imagination. A bilingual catalogue will be available on request from Mid-August 2010.. This publication not only includes works included in the exhibition but also a range of other visual material dating from the early 20th century through to the present day relating to the Yangtze of the imagination including: photographic works by a sequence of non-Chinese photographers and artists viewing the region from their own differing perspectives; stills from important films and documentaries that treat the theme of the Yangtze of the imagination; and postcards, guidebooks and other personal touristic memorabilia. Together these offer a greater insight into cultural significance of the Yangtze of the imagination and hopefully will allow deeper understanding of the works included in the exhibition.

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