Secret Signs. Calligraphy in Chinese Contemporary Art

Cat. Deichtorhallen Hamburg in Collaboration with the Sigg Collection and M+, Hong Kong

Exhibition catalogue, edited by Dirk Luckow
texts (German/English) by Nora von Achenbach, Uta Lauer, Lesley Ma, Hu Mingyuan, interviews with Xu Bing, Feng Mengbo, Wu Shanzhuan, Ai Weiwei by Heinz-Norbert Jocks as well as a conversation between Pi Li and Uli Sigg
240 p with 10 b/w and 180 coloured illustrations
300x 240 mm, hardcover

ISBN 978-3-86442-091-7

(out of print)

How the sage’s ghost metamorphoses

This broad exhibition and the accompanying publication center on two constantly topical, fundamental questions of social reality in China from the 1980s to the present, as well as the self-concept of its artists: How does China deal with its cultural heritage in view of the raipd course of change brought on by globalization? Or: Is the fact that calligraphy is sidelined itself a paradigmatic expression of modern Chinese culture? Ever since Mao, in 1956, ordered the radical simplification of the complex calligraphic writing system of the courtly organized elite by standardizing the characters themselves, their respective sound, the form and the amount of characters as well as their systematization, the »lack of the referential« of symbols and images, as stated by Jean Baudrillard, may already to some extent be considered analogous to western culture, as part of the reality of the modern Chinese society. This is part of the reason why contemporary Chinese artists, for over three decades, have deconstructed writing as anti-calligraphy and, based on the Cultural Revolution, have criticized its trivialization as a medium of mass culture, but have also always, and in an artistically impressive way, claimed a return of the individual expression.

Artists: Ai Weiwei, Chen Guangwu, Chen Zaiyan, Dai Guangyu, Ding Yi, Dong Xiaoming, Feng Mengbo, Gu Wenda, He Sen, Hong Hao, Jia, Jin Feng, Jin Jiangbo, Li Xi, Li Zhenwei, Lu Hao, Lu Qing, Ma Ke, Mao Tongqiang, Qiu Shihua, Qiu Zhijie, Shan Fan, Shao Fan, Tian Wei, Tsang Kin-Wah, Utopia Group, Wang Qingsong, Wu Shanzhuan, Xiao Yu, Xu Bing, Xue Song, Yang Xinguang, Yangjiang Group, Yuan Gong, Zhang Fan, Zhang Huan, Zhang Wei, Zhou Tiehai

Deichtorhallen Hamburg / Falkenberg Collection, Hamburg-Harburg