Magical Modern: SGA brings together thirteen Chinese contemporary artists in Shanghai



Exhibition View of Magical Modern 

Space and Gallery Association Shanghai presents Magical Modern –– a group exhibition that brings together thirteen Chinese contemporary artists: Du Kun, Huang Bingjie, Hu Xiangqian, Liu Zhan, Ma Ke, Ma Liang, Qiu Anxiong, Roxie Ren, Sun Liang, Tian Mu, Tong Kunniao, Wu Jian’an and Zhao Bo. Bao Dong, curator and writer, was invited as the curator for this event. 

Magical Modern comes from two impressions of Shanghai: magical and modern, the former from the shock of Muramatsu Syofu a hundred years ago, and the latter from Ou-fan Lee's remembrance of Shanghai in the new century. Magic is a mixture of all kinds of non-modernity with smell of native soil that has not been removed from disenchantment, like novelty, evil customs, crime and superstition. While modern is made up of automobiles, houses, dance halls, cigars, coffees and Le Frontons. This kind of modernity probably can be called foreign flavour.



Exhibition View of Magical Modern 

What embodied in the connection of magic and modern is collision, entanglement and symbiosis between non-modernity and modernity, including once East and West, past and future, conservative and advanced, and also the conflict between modernity as an ordering and rationalising system and the uninstitutionalisable sensual energy. The tension between developed, efficient, pragmatic and well-organised city, and her dreams, imaginations, ravings, desires, eccentricities, bizarres and motleies embodied in Shanghai strongly, and the Bund is the historical singular point of it all. In addition to the tension, there is also resonance and even complicity between modernity and magic, as in the case of Shanghai's Lujiazui landscape, which has become a symbol of the glamour of modernity.



This is not an exhibition of urban cultural research, but rather an exhibition that uses the symbol of Shanghai to tell the story of art 's experience, reconciliation and expression of the tensions of modernity on experience and method, material and form and so many levels. Those thirteen artists in the exhibition embody the creativity inspired by this tension in their own unique styles and approaches, and contain revelations of an alternative modernity. The art of a place and a time is destined to be symbiotic with that moment and place. Art is both a grasp of the world as it is and a keen judgement of what is possible. On this level, art can be likened to the angels of history, allegorising the past and foretelling the future.

About the Artists

Du Kun(1982, Sichuan, China)

Du Kun graduated from the the Affiliated High School to China Academy of Art in 2003. He attained his Bachelor Degree of the Fourth Studio of the Oil Painting Department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 2007 and currently bases in Tianjin and Beijing. 

Huang Bingjie (1994, Hunan, China)

Huang Bingjie is an artist who attained a Bachelor's Degree in Department of Oil Painting from Hubei Institute of Fine Arts in 2016. She is a founder of the art blog and Wechat public number RED-MOON and currently works and lives in Beijing.

Hu Xiangqian (1983, Guangdong, China)

Hu Xiangqian graduated from the Oil Painting Department of Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts in 2007, and now lives and works in Beijing.

Liu Zhan (1976, Henan, China)      

Liu Zhan graduated from the Department of Sculpture at Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) and established the art trio UNMASK in 2002. He lives and works in Beijing. 

Ma Liang (1972, Shanghai, China)      

Born in 1972 in Shanghai with a theatre family, he entered the junior high school of Shanghai Huashan Art School at the age of 12, then entered the High School Affiliated to Shanghai University to study painting professionally, and graduated from Shanghai University College of Fine Arts in 1995, majoring in graphic design, with 11 years of art education. He is now a photographer, contemporary artist, one of the representatives of Chinese conceptual photography. 

Ma Ke (1970, Shandong, China)      

He graduated from Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts, Painting Department, BA in 1994 and teaching at Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts, Oil Painting Department until to 2002. Then he graduated from Fourth Studio, Central Academy of Fine Arts, MFA in 2005. Between 1998-1999, he seconded to the Ministry of Culture and posted to Eritrea as a teacher. Currently lives and works in Beijing. 

Qiu Anxiong (1972, Sichuan, China)      

Graduated from the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in 1994, Qiu Anxiong lived and worked in Chengdu from 1995 to 1998. He graduated from the Kassel University School of Art in 2003 and now lives and works in Shanghai and teaches at the School of Design, East China Normal University.

Roxie Ren (1997, Liaoning, China)   

Roxie Ren, a new media artist, received her Bachelor's Degree from Tsinghua Academy of Fine Arts in 2019 and her Master's Degree in Interaction Design from University of the Arts London in 2021, and currently lives and works in Shanghai.

Sun Liang (1957, Zhejiang, China)   

He graduated from the Design Department of Shanghai Institute of Light Industry in 1982 and now teaches at University of Shanghai for Science and Technology.

Tian Mu (1985, Anhui, China)   

Tian Mu lives and works in Shanghai. Tian Mu's practice spans painting, sculpture, installation and video, with advanced technological methods of production and commodity forms. He probes the limits between human body and the material world as well as spirituality. His works capture social groups and events of different cultural backgrounds and try to create body aesthetics by switching mediums between painting and sculpture to bring about physical and spiritual cognition from human relationships through stories that integrate the body into the intuitive perception, from the intimacy of the body perception to explore how we see things and the unforeseen vulnerabilities.

Tong Kunniao (1990, Hunan, China)

Tong Kunniao received his BFA from No.3 Studio, Department of Sculpture at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 2015. In 2016, he went to graduate school and dropped out in the same year. He currently lives and works in Beijing.

Wu Jian’an (1980, Beijing, China)

Wu Jian’an was born in 1980 in Beijing, China. He is currently a professor and Ph.D. degree tutor at the Central Academy of Fine Arts. The artistic logic and visual creativity of Wu Jian'an are rooted in his use of scenes that seem distant from contemporary life to express eternal threads that run through the history of human civilization. He awakens the hidden and subtle yet grand and majestic subconscious that lies within every human heart, inspiring the viewer to reflect on human nature and the times in which we live.

Zhao Bo (1984, Shenyang, China)

Graduated from the Oil Painting Department of Lu Xun Academy of Fine Arts, Zhao Bo received his Bachelor's Degree in 2007, and his Master's Degree in 2011, during which he went to the Oslo National Academy of the Arts for exchange studies. He currently lives and works in Shenyang.

About the Exhibition

Poster.jpgCurator: Bao Dong

Dates: 30th November 2023 – 25th  February 2024

Venue: SGA Three on the Bund, 3F, No.3 Zhong Shan Dong Yi Road, Shanghai

Artists: Du Kun, Huang Bingjie, Hu Xiangqian, Liu Zhan, Ma Ke, Ma Liang, Qiu Anxiong, Roxie Ren, Sun Liang, Tian Mu, Tong Kunniao, Wu Jian’an, Zhao Bo

Courtesy of SGA.