Like Thunder Out of China
Featuring artwork by the Han Bing, Gao Brothers, Lu Fei Fei, Dai Guangyu, Zhang Huan, Qiu Jie, Wu Junyong, Chang Lei, Hung Tung Lu, Gu Wenda, and He Yunchang.
With the launch of Ai Weiwei ’s new book Weiwei-isms and MAO, the complete book of Mao iconography.
Pia Camilla Copper, Margot Ross, and Arsenal Contemporary Art are pleased to present a group exhibition featuring major work from contemporary artists from China.
Chinese artists are often considered zhishi fenzi, or « intellectuals with thunder and lightning at their heels. » Many of the works in this exhibition cannot be exhibited in China: even post-Mao, public discussion of China’s communist rule is still limited. Artworks that are deemed provocative are still censored and artists are sometimes jailed by the government for their dissident views on Chinese society and culture. He Yunchang’s photograph Ai Wei Wei Swimsuit addresses the censorship of Ai Wei Wei, China’s most controversial artist. Internationally acclaimed Chinese artist Zhang Huan is best known for provocative performances that subjected his own body to challenging tests of endurance. This exhibition includes his photograph My Boston, which documents a performance commissioned by the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. His sculpture Rising is located in front of the Shangri-La Hotel in downtown Toronto and his ash paintings were recently exhibited at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Also on exhibit will be the Gao Brothers iconic eight foot stainless-steel Miss Mao sculpture.
The artists featured in Like Thunder Out of China are asking important questions about the legacy of the past and how it affects contemporary China. They have participated in major exhibitions at MoMA PS1 in New York, Herning Museum of Contemporary Art (HEART) in Oslo, the Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai (MOCA Shanghai), the Serpentine Gallery in London, and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. This is the first time that these artists are shown together in Toronto.
Arsenal Toronto, a converted industrial kiln, is now home to contemporary art. The complex, located in the burgeoning neighborhood of Junction Area, occupies an expansive 8 000 sq.ft. The space, rich in industrial architecture paired with minimalist modern features, is devoted to the promotion of local and international contemporary art.
The exhibition is curated by Pia Camilla Copper, a specialist in Chinese contemporary art based in Paris, who has worked with these and many other artists in Beijing and Shanghai over the past 15 years, and Margot Ross a curator and art consultant based in Montreal.