THE very best of Chinese contemporary art will be on display in Liverpool, just steps away from the most significant exhibition ever to come out of China.
PRESENCE: A Window into Chinese Contemporary Art will open to the public at St George’s Hall on Friday 9 February and will feature work from 19 of the most exciting emerging and established artists who hail from mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the diaspora. It coincides with the hotly anticipated China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors Exhibition at World Museum which features more than 180 artefacts from Shaanxi Province in North West China, most of which have never been on show in the UK before.
The free PRESENCE exhibition includes sculptures, paintings, installations, videos and photographs and will take over the vaults of the Grade I listed Hall – an area not generally open to the public.
Luke Ching, Cao Fei and Wu Chi-Tsung are among some of the showcased artists, with the pieces covering the themes of consumerism, technology, connectivity and the individual’s place in the world today.
A private preview for members of the media will take place from midday until 4pm on Tuesday 6 February. It is suggested those attending the press preview of the Terracotta Warriors at World Museum, then make the short walk to St George’s Hall to get a sneak peek of the PRESENCE exhibition. Lindsay Taylor from the University of Salford, who has curated the showcase, will be available for interview during this time.
Assistant Mayor and cabinet member for culture, tourism and events, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “The arrival of the breath taking Terracotta Warriors gives us the opportunity to celebrate China, our links with the Far East and of course our very own Chinese community which is the oldest in Europe and plays such a key part of this city.
“We’re incredibly lucky to be able to showcase two juxtaposing exhibitions – on one hand you have some of the world’s most iconic and oldest pieces of Chinese art and on the other we are shining a light on the incredible creative talent which is thriving today.
“It offers visitors a real 360 degree experience of art from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan at its very best, and the fact that World Museum is just a stone’s throw away from St George’s Hall really makes it a must-visit attraction for those heading to the city.”
All works in PRESENCE belong to the University of Salford Art Collection and this is first time the New Collection of Chinese Contemporary Art has been displayed in full. The Collection has been developed largely in partnership with the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art in Manchester, but also with Liverpool’s Open Eye Gallery.
University of Salford Curator, Lindsay Taylor, said: “It is a true privilege to be exhibiting the University of Salford Art Collection in such an iconic building in my home city, Liverpool.
“This is the first time we have shown the New Collection of Chinese Contemporary Art in its entirety and the venue provides a perfect combination of intimate galleries and spectacular spaces hidden in the catacombs beneath St George’s Hall.
“As we are installing the exhibition we are seeing the individual works in a new light, and can fully appreciate the breadth and importance of our evolving collection. What links these two exhibitions is the desire to tell human stories and to reflect on different periods of history. If China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors Exhibition presents the culture from 2000 years ago, PRESENCE looks to the future and tells a story of the ‘now’.”
Artist Cao Fei said: “Chinese contemporary art has become an indispensable component of global art. By promoting, showing, researching, disseminating and collecting, the University of Salford and CFCCA play an important role in the interaction and communication between Chinese and British contemporary art. I look forward to showing my work to audiences in Liverpool.”
PRESENCE: A Window into Chinese Contemporary Art will run until 3 June 2018, opening from 10am – 5pm, Wednesday to Sunday.
This exhibition is part of the city’s China Dream season, in partnership with University of Liverpool – an eight month-long season of exhibitions, performances and events which aim to shine a light on modern Chinese culture and explore the relationship between China and the UK. Highlights from China Dream’s Chapter One (running February to June) include Eroica at Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, which will see a performance by world famous cellist Jian Wang and FACT’s, NOW exhibition, a presentation of Moving Image by Chinese Contemporary Female Artists which takes place on 7 and 21 March.
Also within the season is this year’s Chinese New Year celebrations which includes thousands of Chinese lanterns lining city streets, a lion dance taking place on Saturday 10 February in the run up to the main weekend of celebrations which takes place from the 16 to 18 February.
For more details about China Dream, visit www.chinadreamliverpool.com.