Art News

Water Quintessence: Zhang Jian-Jun solo exhibition @ Pearl Lam Galleries
The exhibition centres on the subject of water – both its physical forms and connotations that flit through the kaleidoscope of daily life, and as the epitome of classical Chinese philosophy, which Zhang describes as yi – the true realm between reality and ideal, or the pursuit of quintessence (in Western terminology) in the most simplified and sensible way. The show features the artist’s latest oil and ink paintings, and it will also comprehensively showcase an array of mixed media works, sculpture pieces, and archival documentations dating from the 1980s to the present.
For the first time in nearly three decades, the Shanghai native, one of the representative artists for the earliest abstract art in China, will hold a solo show featuring current artwork in his hometown. Zhang Jian-Jun’s works pose questions about existence, the origin of the universe, and the eternalness and transformative nature of time. Deeply influenced by Daoism, Zhang approaches his art through a philosophical way of thinking and regards his practice as a form of “contemplation of the pure, and manifestation of the simple”. In his comprehension of Dao, Zhang instinctively implements the common metaphor of water that merges reality with abstraction in his art.
Water • Quintessence runs until 28 May 2016 @ Pearl Lam Galleries. G/F, 181 Jiangxi Zhong Lu, near Fuzhou Lu. Tel: 6323 1989. Web:


Resurrection of Materiality: Dual Exhibition by Zhuang Hong Yi and Zhang Zhenxue @ Art+ Shanghai Gallery
In art history, the role of material has been repeatedly questioned, denied, deprived of any function, overly emphasised and completely ignored. The art world has seen a radical shift in the perception of material since the Industrial Revolution brought an influx of machine-made products. Particularly noticeable in the fields of architecture and crafts, ornamentation and decoration was suddenly no longer perceived as desirable. The resulting minimalistic tendencies were reflected in art where the choice of material became charged with philosophical and aesthetic implications. Minimalist tendencies in the next decades eventually resulted in the introduction of new dematerialised art forms such as conceptual art and performance art. Recently, however, there seems to be a resurgence of crafting and materially-focused work in contemporary art and architecture. This renewed interest in the “surface” of artwork can be identified in the works of the two featured artists Zhuang Hong Yi and Zhang Zhenxue.
This exhibition marks the on going trend contemporary art is witnessing at the present moment. Resurrection, a term that denotes a condition of having been restored to life, serves as a lens through which displayed works of rather sculptural quality are examined.
Resurrection Of Materiality shows artworks that detect the shift in attitude towards physicality in contemporary art. Accentuating the role of material in their works, both artists share a common vision of material as a means not only to transmit meaning, but rather as a means to create meaning. Treatment of the surface is therefore a technique as well as an artistic statement that underlines a new tendency in the contemporary art landscape.
Resurrection of Materiality runs from 8 May until 19 June @ Art+ Shanghai Gallery. 191 Nan Suzhou Lu, near Sichuan Zhong Lu. Tel: 6333 7223. Web:
Alberto Giacometti Retrospective @ Yuz Museum
Alberto Giacometti, one of the greatest sculptors and artists of the 20th century, is widely regarded as the embodiment of the spirit of modernism. As one of the spokesmen of modern 20th century, Giacometti had a profound impact on the development of postwar art, and has been acclaimed the world over. He has also influenced many Chinese artists` practice and their perception of modern art.
The exhibition will present about 250 works owned by the Foundation Giacometti, which offers a comprehensive overview of the artist's career spanning half a century, including the most iconic "Walking Man" (1960), "Spoon Woman" 1927 (1953 version), "Walking Woman" (1932), "The Nose" (1947) and "The Cage" (1951). The exhibition covers Giacometti’s entire career from his early years, the cubist and surrealist period, all the way to the 1960s’ prolific period. Giacometti’s widely acclaimed works, such as portrait drawings, paintings, photographs, manuscripts and other archival material, will provide abundant clues for comprehensive understanding and appreciation of his art.
In 2016, the 50th anniversary of Giacometti's death, a series of commemorative exhibitions about this master will be launched worldwide. London's Tate Britain, Paris’s Picasso Museum of Art and other top international art museums will hold exhibitions for Giacometti. This retrospective is an important contribution to this round of global commemorations. It is also the only exhibition in Asia.
Alberto Giacometti Retrospective runs until 31 July @ Yuz Museum. 35 Fenggu Lu, near Longteng Dadao. Tel: 6210 5207