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CHINA NOW launches Nationwide Art Trail
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CHINA NOW, the UK's largest ever festival of Chinese culture, launched the UK's largest ever exhibition trail of contemporary Chinese art, installations, sculptures and photography on April 8.

With over 400 pieces of artwork showcasing across the UK, the programme sees art from China's leading contemporary artists such as Cao Fei, Xu Bing, Xu Tan, Zhang Xiaogang and Sui Jianguo appear in exclusive venues including the Saatchi Gallery, Serpentine and the National Museum of Scotland amongst others.

Revealing the depth and diversity of contemporary Chinese art nationwide, the art trail includes sound installations, neon signs, video art, sculptures, paintings, drawings and digital multimedia.

The works being produced in China now reflect the amazing changes that have taken place in this country over the past five decades. Contemporary Chinese art is intimately connected to the growing contradictions and tensions caused by old-new, traditional-modern, east-west, individual-state and the never ending search for an identity that has yet to be formed.

CHINA NOW, the UK's largest ever festival of Chinese culture, is a six-month nationwide celebration of over 1000 Chinese events including exhibitions, performances and activities spanning Chinese film, cuisine, comics, art, literature, music, design, science, technology, business, education and sport across the UK. Visit www.chinanow.org.uk/events for full details of all events.

Highlights include:

Neon Sign by He An

Commissioned by CHINA NOW, Chinese artist He An will create a sixty metre long neon sign to be installed in Birmingham, in association with the IKON Gallery in June 2008. Inspired by Generation X's mad, riches-seeking, dog-eat-dog dark side, this leading contemporary artist is a part of the Chinese movement who are reacting to what is happening around them now.

Sound Installations curated by Matthias Kispert

Exploring how sounds influence perceptions of space and sight, 'China Incidental' is a sound art project in two parts that evokes moments of everyday life in contemporary China. Both the fixed sound installation 'Production Consumption Interpretation' at the Southbank (18 to 28 April), as well as the mobile '(Un)familiar Territories' headphone walks in Manchester (24 May to 22 June) are a part of CHINA NOW.

Wang Qingsong

Opening on 8 April with the launch of CHINA NOW's art programme, Wang Qingsong's exhibition at the Albion consists of two new, ground-breaking works. The artist is internationally renowned as a key figure in the Chinese contemporary art scene. Subverting the language of propaganda, he creates large computer-manipulated photographs imbued with wry humour and deep-seated iconoclasm toward all things 'official'.

RMB City by Cao Fei

Considered to be the leading video artist in China today, Cao Fei will be exhibiting her video and digital art installation 'RMB City' at the Serpentine Gallery as part of CHINA NOW in summer 2008. The online art community project in the virtual world of Second Life is an experiment exploring the creative possibilities in the relationship between real and virtual space as well as a reflection of China's urban and cultural explosion.

Legacy Mantle by Sui Jianguo

Sui Jianguo's Legacy Mantle will be showcased from 7 April to 25 June at RHS Wisley and from 26 June to 14 September at Hestercombe Gardens as part of CHINA NOW. The sculpture is made of bronze and is 240 x 160 x 100 cm in size. Since 1997 Sui has been working on a series of Mao Suit works that make direct reference to, and often take the form of, the government approved clothing introduced by Mao Tse Tung after the Cultural Revolution in China. Sui says that none of the Chinese have truly taken off their Mao suits even though the revolutionary era is over.

Scholar's Rock by Zhan Wang

Zhan Wang's 'Scholars Rocks' are being installed at the British Museum, RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey and the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh as part of CHINA NOW. The renowned Chinese conceptual sculptor Zhan Wang explores opposing forces in his sculptures, fascinated by the meeting point between "traditional and modern", "natural and manmade" and "illusion and reality".

Xu Bing

Exploring the relationship between language and communication, Xu Bing, the recently appointed Vice President of The Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, will be exhibiting a number of his pieces as part of CHINA NOW at the Albion Gallery from 9 May. Xu Bing often takes calligraphy as a starting point for his highly methodical practice, and recombines elements drawn from genuine Chinese characters to invent new ones; his invented characters look Chinese yet on closer examination they are constructed from English words.

Frolic by Huang Yong Ping

Huang Yong Ping is considered one of China's most established contemporary artists and is highly acclaimed for his large scale site specific installations and sculptures. 'Frolic' is an exhibition of large scale site-specific installations appearing at The Curve as part of CHINA NOW from 25 June to 21 September that explores the complex imperial history between Britain and China in the 19th century, focusing on the Opium Wars.

'The Materialists are all Asleep' by Lu Chunsheng

Presenting the first solo retrospective exhibition of the work of the surrealist artist Lu Chunsheng as part of CHINA NOW, the Red Mansion Foundation hosts a range of the artist's photography and video art from 6 February to 20 April 2008. Lu Chunsheng's work consists of brooding films and photographs which appear preoccupied with both the Industrial Era and communist history.

'Contemporaneous' by Chen Shaoxiong and Qiu Anxiong

'Contemporaneous' is an exhibition bringing together two Chinese artists who work experimentally with the traditional art form of ink painting to create animations and new ink paintings that reflect upon issues concerning China today. Chen Shaoxiong and Qiu Anxiong's works are being exhibited at the Chinese Arts Centre in Manchester from 5 April to 15 June as part of CHINA NOW and Asia Triennial Manchester 08.

The Revolution Continues: New Art From China

As part of CHINA NOW, the UK's largest ever festival of Chinese culture, the new Saatchi Gallery will be exhibiting 'The Revolution Continues: New Art From China'. The inaugural exhibition of exciting contemporary Chinese art will bring together the work of 30 or so of China's leading artists for a cutting edge survey of recent painting, sculpture and installation.

A New Generation: The Khoan and Michael Sullivan Collection

As part of CHINA NOW, Asia House opens 'A New Generation', the second of two exhibitions from Khoan and Michael Sullivans' unique collection of 20th century Chinese art. The exhibition displays a selection of art produced by a generation of Chinese artists after the brief period of political liberalisation that occurred during the 'Beijing Spring'. Featuring art from Wang Jia'nan, Cai Xiaoli and Qu Leilei.

'Breeze from South West China' by Xiang Silou

Renowned woodblock artist Professor Xiang Silou is undertaking a four-week residency at both the Ricefield Arts and Cultural Centre and the Burrell Collection in Glasgow. Both the presentation of a selection of his works as well as a series of free workshops and events will be held as part China Now in Scotland, the UK's largest ever festival of Chinese culture.

Far West at the Arnolfini

'Far West' is an art project supported by CHINA NOW which explores new trade and cultural relationships produced by globalization and the shift of the economic centre towards the East. 'Far West' will transform Arnolfini from an arts venue into a distinctive 'concept store'.

Searching for Keywords by Xu Tan

CHINA NOW is co-commissioning 200 copies of 'Dictionary of Keywords' by Xu Tan. The individually numbered books will be distributed to over a hundred venues including art galleries, universities, institutions and art centres across the UK from April 2008 onwards.

(China.org.cn April 10, 2008)

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