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New Chinese Contemporary Art exhibition at St. George’s Hall, Liverpool

Feb 12, 2018

Chinese Art by Lu Zinjian
Lu Xinjian, City DNA / Salford and Manchester, 2016. © Lu Xinjian.

On Friday (9th February) a special exhibition curated by the University of Salford Art Collection team entitled ‘PRESENCE: A Window into Chinese Contemporary Art’ opened in the vaults of St. George’s Hall in Liverpool as part of the citywide China Dream season. The exhibition, launched by Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson and University of Salford Chancellor Professor Jackie Kay MBE, offers a contemporary view of Chinese culture to complement China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors, at the World Museum, Liverpool.

PRESENCE provides a unique insight into the 21st century artistic practice from China, Hong-Kong, Taiwan and the diaspora covering a range of themes including consumerism, technology, connectivity and the individual’s place in the world today. The sculptures, paintings, installations, videos and photographs are installed throughout the vaults in St. Georges Hall, as well as some intriguing spaces not typically open to the public.

All works in the exhibition belong to the University of Salford Art Collection and this is first time the New Collection of Chinese Contemporary Art has been displayed in full.  The Collection has been developed largely in partnership with the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA) in Manchester, but also with Liverpool’s Open Eye Gallery.

Artist Cao Fei said: “Chinese contemporary art has become an indispensable component of global art. By promoting, showing, researching, disseminating and collecting, the University of Salford and CFCCA play an important role in the interaction and communication between Chinese and British contemporary art. I look forward to showing my work to audiences in Liverpool.”

University of Salford Art Curator, Lindsay Taylor, said: “It is a true privilege to be exhibiting the University of Salford Art Collection in such an iconic building in my home city, Liverpool. 

This is the first time we have shown the New Collection of Chinese Contemporary Art in its entirety and the venue provides a perfect combination of intimate galleries and spectacular spaces hidden in the catacombs beneath St George’s Hall.  Whilst installing the exhibition we saw the individual works in a new light and could fully appreciate the breadth and importance of our evolving collection. What links PRESENCE and China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors exhibition is the desire to tell human stories and to reflect on different periods of history. If China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors Exhibition presents the culture from 2,000 years ago, PRESENCE looks to the future and tells a story of the ‘now’.”

Professor Robin Bargar, Director, Digital and Creative Industry Collaboration Zone, added: “The PRESENCE exhibition places University of Salford as a vital agent for the North West cultural industries, connecting practitioners in Liverpool and Greater Manchester and providing a bridge to present-day experiences in China. The UK’s culture and creative industries deliver far greater reach and impact than many other UK industries, generating remarkable soft power on a global scale while opening doors to cross-cultural dialogue and shared perspectives”. Professor Robin Bargar, Director, Digital and Creative Industry Collaboration Zone.

The exhibition will run from Friday 9th February to Sunday 3rd June
Opening hours: Wednesday – Sunday (10am – 5pm)

The vaults, St. Georges Hall, entrance via the Heritage Centre on St. John’s Lane, Liverpool
Admission is FREE
You can read more about the exhibition here: http://artcollection.salford.ac.uk/presence/

Image: Photograph courtesy the artist and Art Labor Gallery, Shanghai.