Painting Unsettled

2023.3.11 - 2023.5.21

Li Ran, Ten Letters, 2022, oil on canvas, 180 × 150 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Lisson Gallery.


Location:  UCCA Edge

As realism retreats, reality looms. A wave of deglobalization has accompanied the rise of a new conservatism. Image generation technology and the fragmentation of online media have resulted in context collapse. The breakdown of borders between intellectual disciplines has diluted formal languages. Art once again faces questions of its relevance and urgency. Ontological discourse related to painting is receding, while the necessity of iconographic critique, embodied creation, and collective action is becoming increasingly evident. If technological progress does not continue to drive societal progress, and formal developments within artistic mediums are no longer producing significant innovations in contemporary art, how can painting raise questions of value in this moment?

By presenting the recent works of eight artists, this exhibition explores how painting employs iconographic and psychological rhetorics to offer alternative modes for understanding our bewildering present moment. Deviating from traditional structures of knowledge and flattened methods of information acquisition, these artists confront randomness and disorder through individual, unique creative methods. Straddling social realities and individual experiences, personal and collective histories, they capture contradiction and universality. Through visual translation and problematization, they weave an web of collective memory and the subconscious, generating critical thinking that is both diverse and convergent. The exhibition is curated by UCCA Curator Luan Shixuan.


Participating Artists

Han Mengyun, Jian Ce, Li Ran, Yong Xiang Li, Qiu Xiaofei, Wang Xiaoqu, Wang Zhibo, Xie Nanxing