Chinese contemporary art is experiencing an unprecedented special period, the traditional concept of art creation being changed at different levels by the intervention of capital, strong national awareness, remaining ideology, and the pleasure and pain of urban development. Although all this hasn’t brought about the fundamental change of Chinese contemporary art, Chinese contemporary art still exhibits a burst of excitement and vitality against a new social background, which is broadly making vague the hierarchical relationship between elite culture and popular culture, greatly attracting people’s attention, changing people’s knowledge of art, and exerting influence on people’s judgment and choice in daily life.
To China and the whole world, the year 2009 embodies many uncertain factors in the sphere of art. The function of art, the value of art, and even people’s understanding and experiences of art are all turning their way.
On the one hand, Chinese artistic ecology, due to the intervention of the middle class, has to urge artists to a new self-awareness. Meanwhile, the science and technology and capital further promote the exchange between different arts, the interaction between art and audience, and the mutual association between global integrative cultures. As far as the development of Chinese contemporary art is concerned, the cultural mark of creation of the mature artists in contemporary China is no longer the ideaistic impact experienced during the period of Cold War, the total independence of culture on ideology, or the realism and the cultural context of agreement or criticism caused by extreme realism. While at the same time, the emphasis on global culture and consumption culture has already provided the possible room for the expansion of art in a broader sense, and hence broken through the cultural restraints of the past.
On the other hand, culture and society enjoy an ever-closer relationship in current China, which makes culture people’s lifestyle, including that of knowledge, of skill, and of material. When Chinese contemporary art presents itself, it no longer bears sermon or conceitedness. However, it realizes the effective integration, in an intimate way, between the past and the present, men and technology, art and life. The effective integration means to reduce the possible ambiguity in comprehending contemporary art through open-ended explanation and embodiment. Therefore, things like metaphors and symbols, the shift of media, and the visual vocabulary with philosophical implication are no longer the witchery in people’s mind. Nevertheless, they come to strengthen the harmonious association between people themselves and social life, leading the general public who care for art from the extreme way of experiencing and comprehending art to changing art into a journey they will go on. The going together of art and lifestyle demonstrates the only way of forming a culture: acceptance and spread. Just because of this, Chinese contemporary art will gain more avant-garde value and significance.
The exhibition “Collision” manages to be face to face with the entire change in pattern from ideology and concept, ways of expression, and judgment of value to the production of culture, the spread of culture, and the collection of culture. Such effort begins with individual art cases, and proceeds in the way of presenting the current condition of Chinese art. Although there must exist some pities, such as the absence of some important artists, and the negligence of some active artists due to our own limitation, we still have good reasons to believe that the current art condition presented in this challenging architecture is no other than the further experience and cultural thought conducted by Chinese artists in the present transformation.