White Rabbit Gallery -
Exhibitions

Serve the People

Serve the People

9 30.08.2013–02.02.2014

Serve the People

A slogan of the 1966–76 Cultural Revolution, “Serve the People” meant serving the great cause of socialism. Artists were crucial to that effort, but they had to make the right kinds of art: Soviet-style socialist realism or ink painting on revolutionary themes. All other art forms, Western or Chinese, were banned, and those who dared to practise them were vilified as capitalist-roaders and traitors.

The “opening up” that began in the 1980s led to a more expansive view of artists’ role: now they would serve the people by boosting China’s national image and income. “Today,” says artist Liu Dahong, “we have a new cultural revolution.” The art market is booming and artists have unprecedented freedom to experiment and travel. And they serve people—and not only China’s people—in wildly different and distinctly individual ways. Many are rediscovering and revitalising the traditions that the Cultural Revolutionaries set out to destroy. Some struggle to separate history from ideology; others question the overlap—greater than ever in the digital age—between fact and fakery. Critiques of consumerism are common; a few artists express cautious criticism of corruption and censorship as well. But even those who focus on personal themes serve others by helping them see in new ways.

Serve the People surveys the best works of this new revolution, all as individual as their creators: from Yan Siwen’s old-fashioned love story and MadeIn’s glorious multicultural mash-up to Chili’s comic opera and Jin Feng’s 100-year history, printed from tank tyres and a broken statue of Mao.

GF
Wang Zhiyuan Object of Desire, 2008 fibreglass, vehicle duco, lights, sound
363 x 355 x 70 cm
Wu Yuren A Sentence, 2012 LED light boxes
dimensions variable
1F
Chen Wenling Happy Life—Family, 2005 bronze, vehicle duco
195 x 60 x 85 cm
Gu Fan Find Light in the Rain, 2007 wool on cloth
12 panels
each 50 x 50 cm
Huang Ying Metamorphosis No. 15, 16, 2010 digital prints
200 x 150 cm
Jin Shi Small Business—Karaoke, 2009 mixed media
220 x 70 x 165 cm
XU ZHEN® Immortals’ Trails in Secret Land, 2012 mixed media on canvas
350 x 240 x 20 cm
Meiya Lin The Times Are Summoning, 2007 video
2 min 40 sec
Wang Lei Fabrication No. 3—1 and 2, 2009 paper
170 x 130 cm each
Yan Siwen His Series, 2012 black-plate ambrotypes
40.6 x 40.6 cm
You Si Transforming, 2012 acrylic ink on rice paper
180 x 180 cm
Zhang Jianjun China Chapter 5, 10, and 12, 2005, 2011 silicone rubber
various dimensions
2F
Cang Xin Shamanism—Untitled, 2005 pencil on paper
200 x 250 cm
Chen Hangfeng Invasive Species—Vegetables, 2010 photographs, light boxes, animation
dimensions variable
Chili Red Star Motel, 2009 12 C-prints
each 80 x 80 cm
Jin Feng A History of China’s Modernisation Vols 1 and 2, 2011 rubber, marble, paper
dimensions variable
Liu Dahong Old Spies and Evil Henchmen, 2011 oil paint and charcoal on canvas
100 x 80 cm
Liu Dahong Scummy Dregs of the Old Society, 2011 oil paint and charcoal on canvas
100 x 80 cm
XU ZHEN® Calm, 2009 rubble, waterbed, carpet, motor
15 x 500 x 350 cm
Shi Jinsong Baby Stroller—Sickle Edition, 2007 steel
116 x 65 x 80 cm
Su Meng-Hung The Album of Immortal Blossoms in an Everlasting Spring by Giuseppe Castiglione, 2012 acrylic on canvas
259 x 194 cm
Yao Peng Five Masterpieces, 2011 book, glue
dimensions variable
Yao Peng Someday, 2011 newspaper
dimensions variable
Yao Peng What, 2011 oil paint on card
24 x various dimensions
3F
Chen Lingyang Twelve Flower Months, 1999–2000 12 photographs
various dimensions
Nortse Father’s Violin 2, 2007 mixed media on canvas
134.5 x 134.5 cm
Nortse Guarding Against Catching a Cold, 2007 mixed media on canvas
130 x 130 cm
Nortse The State I Am In, 2007 mixed media on canvas
130 x 130 cm
Shen Shaomin Laboratory—Three-Headed, Six-Armed Superman, 2005 bone, bone meal, glue, glass
dimensions variable
Sun Furong Nibbling Up—Tomb Figures, 2008 mixed media
dimensions variable
Zhou Xiaohu America Likes Me, 2012 oil paint on aluminium plate, animation video
122 x 217 cm
Zhou Xiaohu Steppenwolf, 2012 oil paint on aluminium plate
video animation projection
157 x 122 cm