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Art Paris 2014: Chinese Talent
Four standout creators whose works question consumerism, women's position in society, authenticism and more
by Isabelle Doal
on 31 March 2014

As France and China celebrate the 50th anniversary of their state relations, Art Paris 2014 (27-30 March at the Grand Palais) took the opportunity to shine the spotlight on the ever-evolving Chinese art scene. Around 90 artists were on show by ten galleries from Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong and 20 Western venues all offered the public a fascinating insight into what is happening right now in China. We selected a few favorites—from photography to performance and painting—which reflect the most up-to-date perspectives and talent coming out of the country.

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ART LEXÏNG (a Miami-based gallery committed to promote Asian emerging talents) showcased two artists both dealing with Chinese social issues. Through his photos, Quentin Shih questions the place of the women in Chinese society. In the body of his work, part of which was commissioned by Dior, he explores the fascination for the other. His projects "Stranger in a Glass Box" and "Shanghai Dreamers" depict women as the alien; the outsider that is gawked and stared at. In the former, women appear isolated in glass boxes—out of reach, as beautiful as they are mystifying. In the latter, they appear as the odd one out in a group photo; alerting viewers to the concept that women are potentially becoming an endangered species in China.

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With her artworks—made up of countless tiny labels and logos—Ye Hongxing questions mindless consumption. Her intricate collage arrangements result in whole images that work almost like optical illusions. The bright, glimmering jewel-like stickers stuck together create a whole narrative through which the artist provokes viewers to perceive high-end, low-end and the entire concept of consumerism from an entirely new perspective.

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Artist Xing Danwen's series "Urban Fiction" (on display at Galerie Pièce Unique booth) "roams the line between truth and falsehood, between reality and imagination"; what is real and inauthentic. In her large photographs, she appears—always different, interpreting various characters, playing roles—standing in places that aren't real (for example, building models used by architects). By playing with scales and realities, she invites her viewers to question what is more (or less) real in the images and what is fake. The loneliness of man in cities, however, is no urban fiction.

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A leading figure of Chinese avant-garde art, Dai Guangyu was at the Brussels and Shanghai-based IFA Gallery booth performing his newest work. A master in traditional calligraphy, Guangyu focuses on process of transformation—a concept that fascinates him. A contraption hangs above a table (on which bowls of ink are displayed) which continually drips water. Eventually, the bowls brim over and leak on the white paper tablecloth, which—once peeled away—reveal perfect and stunning calligraphy.

Photos by Isabelle Doal

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