Ivy Art 2020: Ten Groups of Young Artists Explore the Contemporary “Decameron”

TEXT:Zhang Yizhi, edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO    DATE: 2020.10.22

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In 1348, the plague broke out in Florence, Italy, the birthplace of the Renaissance. The spread of the plague unnerved people in the city. Ten young people moved to the countryside in order to avoid the virus. They feasted and amused themselves from dawn to dusk. They made an agreement that each person had to share a story everyday. Over ten days, a hundred stories came out which were recorded by Giovanni Boccaccio in Decameron. These stories stigmatized superstition, criticized evil, promoted love, eulogized humanity, inspired people to illustrate the image of an ideal life, and brought back hope in such tough situation.  

In 2020, the story turns into reality, the NCP brought panic to the world, and the anxiety limits people’s behavior. In the meantime, there’s a great chance for people to review the world and themselves. After 700 years, we restart the Decameron, ten artists bring their stories through self-presentation, and make the audience rethink about life, they find themselves and rebuild their confidence using art. The expressions for Boccaccio are poetry and literature, for us this is experiencing visual art.

Welcome to Decameron!

—Sheng Wei

Exhibition View of Ivy Art 2020

This year’s “Ivy Art 2020” is centered on the theme of “Decameron”, and presents the “stories” from 10 groups of young artists. The exhibition was academically chaired by Sheng Wei, Deputy Editor-in-chief of the Meishu (Fine Arts) magazine, and co-curated by young curators Song Zhenxi and Zhang Yujin. It was unveiled on October 10 at Pioneer Art Center, OCT Tianjin.

During the period of normalization of the pandemic prevention, a large number of artists also focused on exploring and expressing their own feelings and understandings. How do young artists tell stories? What experience do they have in the face of numerous incidents? How to reshape the perspective, interpret the old stories and dig out new stories?

“Story” and “communication” can be said to be the keywords of the interpretation of this “Decameron” exhibition. How to tell the story, what story to tell, and how to tell the story so that the audience can fit into the exhibition properly, get thinking, and experience it? This is the main point that needs to be considered for the “narrative” clues of the exhibition. In general, this “Ivy Art2020” presents a very vivid “story” that is featured in terms of the exhibition theme, work selection, scene creation, and communication methods, which also leads to considerable exploration.

Exhibition View

This exhibition is also the first themed exhibition planned and unveiled since the Pioneer Art Center jointly operated by the “Ivy Art” and OCT Tianjin. The main theme of the story is “Decameron”, but the perspectives and content of the young artists are different from each other. In the same way, it also demonstrates the keen observation and active breakthrough that young creators made in terms of painting, video, installation, and performance. It can be said that the deeper and more meaningful value of the works and exhibitions presented by the ten groups of young artists lies in their vitality, exploration, experimentation and other characteristics. Their art and stories are both rich and changeable. All stories have no results, they are all happening.

Text by Zhang Yizhi, edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO

About the exhibition

Dates: 10 October - 5 November, 2020

Venue: Pioneer Art  Center

Producer: Jiang Dafang

Academic Director: Sheng Wei

Curators: Song Zhenxi and Zhang Yujin

Artists: Cui Yi, Dai Chenlian, Ding Shiwei, MOXI, Shen Linghao, Wang Enlai, Zhang Quan, Zhang Zhaoying+Shen Muyang, Zhou Hang Mr.D. Mouse, Zhu Xi

Photo Courtesy of the organizer.