FROM HEAVEN TO EARTH. CHINESE CONTEMPORARY PAINTING
Since the 1980s, China’s economic and cultural opening to the rest of the world has rapidly put the country in touch with foreign markets. However, the ways in which such process has taken place are open to question and criticism, and what today has come to characterize the art of the Chinese giant is a mixture of age-old Eastern traditions and modern Western “pop” art. This is the common denominator in the works of the twenty artists included in this volume, which – in line with other books on the subject already published by Damiani, namely China, Contemporary Painting (2005) and Fancy Dream (2007) – aims to take stock of the new Chinese artistic production, thanks to the curatorial and scouting efforts of Lorenzo Sassoli de Bianchi (who also curated China). Ranging from Shi Xinning’s “historical paintings,” where famous personalities belonging to different fields (from Mao-Tse-Tung to Audrey Hepburn, to name just a couple) are put side by side, to Zhou Tiehai’s camels, which replace the characters of famous Renaissance paintings, the works included in From heaven to earth blend classical painting and new technologies, and are torn between the romantic longing towards a Pre-Capitalist China and the vertiginous changes of the past few years. By assimilating Western art in a non-naïve way, these artists managed to create an aesthetics, which faithfully mirrors the fast socio-historical transformations of our times. artists: Chen Ke, Ding I, Fang Lijun, Feng Zengje, Hu Yming, Hue Minjun, Li Songsong, Ma Liuming, Shi Xinning, Zeng Fanzhi, Wang Xingwei, Yan Quian, Zeng Hao, Zhang Xiaogang, Zhang Xiaotao, Zhou Tiehai, Zhou Zixi, He Sen, Pu Jie.