Through Popular Expression Plan b Gallery Cluj Napoca| Museum of Contemporary Art Bucharest (MNAC), 2006
Artists: Cao Fei, Jun Yang, Liang Shuo, MAP office, Xu Tan, Xu Zhen, Zhang Yuan, Zheng Guogu
Co-curated with Vitamin Creative Space, Guangzhou
Popular expression can be defined in many different ways for very good reasons. Some would say it is the appearance of the majority seen as a unified body (of individuals) producing and reproducing its own substance: the ‘being-with’ or ‘being-and-having-in-common’. Others would say it is the dissolution of subjectiveness mixed with the impersonal mode of truth, or individuality in harmony with the forms of the amorphous mass.
The recent economic development and rapid growth of the Chinese production industry have transformed the contemporary People’s Republic of China into a place where existing and new cities are mushrooming into modern metropolises, where the Internet and mass media projection of global politics are undermining the old tradition and censorship, and where the all-pervading ‘Superpower’ discourse is shifting human relationships and identities. Related to this spectacular social landscape are changing conceptions of time, space, self-representation, privacy, communication, values and authenticity, which reveal the collective searching for meaning in a space of a new type of social and aesthetic experiences.
How are the younger generations of Chinese people reacting to such cultural upheaval? How do they construct, negotiate and affirm their individuality facing the increasing tendency to homogenization of the market democracy and creative industries? Through Popular Expression aimed not only to address the specifics of these processes in present-day China but also to formulate concrete space for reflection upon the interplay between mass culture, imitative behaviour and personality design within the broader global context.