How is art changing in the digital era? Technology has provided new tools for the production, distribution and reception of art while also enabling rapid advancements in global trade and information exchange. Described as a “network” or a “cloud”, the infrastructure that facilitates this digital ecosystem is often assumed to exist as a universal system unencumbered by territory, language, law or national culture. And yet very different forms of the internet have developed throughout the world, conditioning different social behaviors, economies and modes of thought. These variations are perhaps most evident when comparing the internets of China and the West, which reflect broader competing political and economic systems. How might these different technological environments express themselves in the contemporary art being made “locally”?
Bringing together a selection of artists from China and the West, this exhibition inquiries into such distinctions. The digital space recurs as a utopian world, modeling alternative landscapes in virtual, augmented and analog forms. Certain works engage the cultural aspirations both encouraged and limited by the Chinese digital ecosystem, alongside its permeability to Western content. Painters propose new abstract spaces that combine historical Chinese and Western vocabularies with contemporary pictorial schematic devices. Technologies of surveillance mingle with apps and devices that invite participation. Real geographies are set against technological representations and imaginary terrains, evoking challenges facing the liberal ideals of globalization in an age of nationalist retrenchment. The exhibition is complemented by a group of works from the Adrian Cheng Collection selected by K11 Art Foundation that offer several perspectives of moving and photographic images made in China, extending from the recent pre-internet era through to the “post-internet” condition of the present.
Paticipating artists: Darren Bader, Trisha Baga, Cao Fei, Heather Dewey-Hagborg, Aleksandra Domanović, Gregory Edwards, Li Ming, Liang Wei, Lin Ke, Mak Ying Tung, Miao Ying, Jon Rafman, Martine Syms, Wang Xin.
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