Wang Guangyi: Cold War Aesthetic

Louise T Blouin Institute, 3 Olaf Street, London W11 4BE

When:Event passed!
It was on
Fri 17th Oct 2008 to
Sun 1st Mar 2009

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Where:Louise T Blouin Institute, 3 Olaf Street, London W11 4BE
Times:Wednesday to Sunday: 10.00 - 18.00 Thursday: 10.00 - 21.00 Café open daily
Admission:£5. All events are free of charge to Institute Members, senior citizens and students.

About the event

The Louise Blouin Institute is honoured to feature the first major solo exhibition in the United Kingdom of the renowned contemporary Chinese artist Wang Guangyi. The exhibition will take place from 17 October to 1 March 2009 and is a part of the Louise Blouin Institute’s ‘Culture Beyond Borders’ series, aimed at encouraging cultural dialogue.

This ambitious show by one of China’s most celebrated living artists, is both a reflection on the imagery of Cold War era China, and a warning to contemporary audiences about the horrors of war. The exhibition, referencing illustrated manuals created by the Chinese government depicting how to react to a nuclear or biological attack, represents the potential catastrophic past of the Cold War that has been avoided while simultaneously pointing to future threats lurking on the horizon. For Wang and for the viewer, the metaphor is clear; avoid a return to a Cold War mentality at all costs.

The exhibition will include an installation of some fifty life-size sculptures that depict Cold War preparedness, a large-scale twelve-panel mural and a series of watercolours that serve as the sketches for the sculptural works on display. The exhibition will be complemented by a bi-weekly lecture series, three Saturday afternoon panel discussions on aspects of contemporary Chinese art and culture, as well as a set of educational workshops and music recitals.

About the Artist

WANG GUANGYI is one of the foremost Chinese artists of the New Art Movement generation that came of age as the Cultural Revolution was dissipating and the universities of China reopened. This cathartic era in China’s history resonates strongly in the work of Wang Guangyi, who studied at the prestigious Zhejiang Academy in Hangzhou. Wang Guangyi rose to prominence by making art that appropriated the imagery and iconography of the Cultural Revolution with Western icons. The kitsch, post-Pop imagery of Wang’s Great Criticism series that began in the 1990s gave way to a new aesthetic in recent years: an aesthetic that is less about juxtapositions of capitalist and socialist visual icons, but rather is a bold and straightforward confrontation of socialist and Cold War imagery.

Public Education Programme: Lecture and Panel Discussion Series

As part of Wang Guangyi’s upcoming exhibition, Cold War Aesthetics, the Louise Blouin Institute will be hosting a series of public lectures, panel discussions and educational workshops aimed at exploring and investigating contemporary Chinese art, culture and society.

Education Program:

Concert Series Preview

Thursday 27 November 6.00 -9.00pm Sarah Moule, Nicky Spence, John Lofthouse, Andrew Matthews-Owen, Katie Derham, Christine Croshaw, Linda Hirst with Ian Dearden and Terry Smith and Joby Burgess performing works by Britten, Hoddinott, Berkeley, Vaughan Williams, Chopin, Xenakkis and a World Premiere by Joseph Atkins. Tickets for this event: £10 *

Beijing Winter Garden Lounge Nights

Thursday 4, 11 and 18 December 6.00-9.00pm Curated by DJ Mary Mc Caughey - The lounge nights will bring the beauty and romance of Beijing's Botanic Gardens into the gallery with new electronica music from England and the Orient, the Guqin, 1930s Chinese Film and garden photography.


8 January 6.30-8.00pm Dr Rana Mitter “How China's wartime past is shaping its present - and future”

5 February 6.30-8.00pm Professor Robert Ash “China’s economic development in the 20th and 21st Centuries”

12 February 6.30-8.00pm Dr Rossella Ferrari “From People’s Republic to Pop Republic. Avant-garde theatre and film in contemporary China”

Panel Discussion

Saturday 31 January 3.00-5.00pm “Politics of Expression in Contemporary Chinese Art” A Discussion with; Katie Hill, Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Chinese Art and Asian Studies at the University of Westminster, Dr Kerry Brown, Senior Fellow at Chatham House on the Asia Programme and Mary Ginsberg, Curator at the British Museum, specialising in Chinese Painting.

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