The idea behind the “Crossover / A dialog between the Hubei School and the New Italian Art Scene” project, which is to take place along with, and as a parallel event to the 55th Venice Biennale 2013, is to showcase the work and experiences of a coherent, varied group of Chinese artists – the so-called Hubei School – comparing them with the same experiences arising out of contemporary Italian Art.
Despite the diversity of the different artistic experiences, a common thread links the fifteen Chinese artists from Hubei Province brought together in this show, and the artists of the New Italian Art Scene.
If the Chinese artists are indeed describing the situation of new Chinese art, poised between Avant-garde and tradition, and between revival of traditional techniques and deeply contemporary themes and accents, the Italian artists of these recent generations have also been reviving techniques that are typical of Italian tradition (mainly painting and sculpture, but also photography and video, with a very refined, classical feel to their execution and form), yet with contemporary accents and methods, a glimpse of social themes, and a constant juggling of the forms and aesthetic references typical of supermodernity.
We shouldn’t then underestimate the Italian artists’ referring back to the Orient as a new model that is to be viewed, not imitated, with interest and participation, after the downturn of Western myths and models.
The Crossover show is therefore aiming not to be a simple comparison, but the first attempt to place two geographically distant experiences together, mixing them up and trying to get the artists to contaminate, observe and influence each other.
And so we’ve got the paintings of one of the masters of the Hubei School, Guo Zhengshan, who revamps the still life tradition with a rarefied, highly refined style that sometimes touches on abstraction, interacting with those of Dany Vescovi, who takes a decorative painting style, strictly adhering to formal tradition, and then constructs a new language, mixing abstract and figurative painting.
Then we’ve got Davide Nido‘s new abstraction compared with the meticulous and deeply symbolic paintings of Xiao Feng; there’s Marco Petrus‘ urban landscape study interacting with the expressionist style of Zhang Zhan‘s natural landscapes.
We’ve got the unsettling scenes painted by Lang Xuebo, memories of film reels or historiographical legacies, interacting with terracotta and bronze sculptures by Paolo Schmidlin, who creates olden day, has-been cinema divas, or controversial historic figures with polished hyperrealism; here are Matteo Basilé’s refined photos, full of symbolism, and religious and profane references, compared with Fu Zhongwang’s installations and sculptures in a balance between archaic formal suggestion and new contemporary mythologies.
Then we’ve got Yuan Xiaofang’s work on the duplicity of vision and points of view, set opposite pieces by Enrico Lombardi, who works on Italian landscape, poised between Fourteenth Century painting and metaphysical suggestion, in a consideration of the ambiguity and evocative power of the pictorial medium.
We’ve got complex installations by Wei Guangqing, who deals with the relationship between the present space and symbolism of the unconscious, interacting with the paintings and installations of Desiderio, somewhere between the real world and oneiric suggestion.
And then we’ve got the paintings of Ma Lin, with their very classical powerful form and significant presence of drawing, compared with the bizarre figures ofElena Monzo, in which the heavy sketch bears an overlying structure of different materials and chaotic, overlapping references.
Li Bangyao‘s complex installations, which reflect on the relationship between present time and memory, between metaphors of daily life and profound symbolism of history, interact with the photographic work of Angelo Marinelli, which reflects on the symbols subtending the contemporary landscape and on the unseen constrictions of reality.
The extraordinary visual nightmares of Fulvio Di Piazza, the new contemporary Arcimboldi, sit opposite the fabulous and bizarre compositions of the brilliant young painter Guo Zi. The visual games of He Diqiu reflect the equally surprising I Santissimi group visual oxymoron, poised between hyperrealism and sci-fi fantasy. Yang Guoxin‘s reasoning between word and image, or the magical, evanescent paintings of Wang Ging, interact with Teresa Emanuele‘s surprising photographic mirrorings, or with Davide Sebastian‘s incredible video portraits.
And lastly, Zhan Rui’s silicon sculptures, sitting somewhere between reality and fiction, and between symbolism of the object and the real object, interface withAron Demetz‘ deeply mysterious wood and bronze sculptures, filled with ancestral references.
Ji Shaofeng. The art critic and curator of international fame is Vice President of Hubei Museum of Art. He is responsible for numerous publications and shows on new Chinese art.
Alessandro Riva. The curator and art critic has worked on new Italian painting and sculpture with public shows both in Italy and abroad.
Opening: 1st June, 2013 at 6 p.m.
2nd June – 24th November, 2013 Tesa 113 Arsenale Nord – Venice from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
PREVIEW AND LIVE ART PERFORMANCE : 29th May, from 7 p.m. to 12 p.m.