Since the introduction of market-based economic reforms in 1978, China has become the world's fastest growing economy. Parallel to this economic growth has been the unprecedented production of art. While the majority of contemporary art practices have centered upon the traditional genres of painting and sculpture, the expansion of work in video and new media has been rapidly evolving. Perspectives 180- Unfinished Country: New Video from China presents a cross-section of work by a new generation of artists from China working in video and video installation. A separate program of cinematic work by emerging artists will also accompany the exhibition.
Not long ago video was inaccessible and—in relation to some content—even forbidden. But now the use of video is rising and in the forefront of new generations of young artists. Since 2008, guest curator James Elaine has lived and worked in China. A former curator with the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, Elaine moved to China to experience first-hand the rapidly evolving culture and its impact upon the production of contemporary art. What he has chronicled, first in an exhibition and later in a blog for the Hammer, is work by a new generation of artists emerging from China who are increasingly inventive, thoughtful, and masterful in their use of the medium. James states, “not long ago, ‘new media’ was considered to be anything not ink or oil painting. Now, video is being taught in universities throughout China. China is changing so fast that it is dizzying. The US (and the West in general) has no real understanding of the new cultural wave that is growing in China. My desire is to give these new artists a voice outside of their country and to show the US this exciting and burgeoning culture. China is not going to go away. Beijing will become an important international art center and the new Chinese artists and galleries will be partners in the international art scene in years to come.”
Perspectives 180- Unfinished Country: New Video from China marks James Elaine’s first engagement with the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. The exhibition will feature seven works by young emerging artists from China ranging from projections to sculpture and installations.