The Real Thing: Contemporary Art from China brings to Liverpool art from one of the world’s most dynamic and culturally sophisticated countries at a time of unprecedented interest in the country.
Despite the proliferation of exhibitions internationally of contemporary Chinese art, this is the first major exhibition in the UK to demonstrate the depth and range of work from China, and presents some of the most interesting and important art to be made since 2000, as well as an opportunity to see the latest work by China’s leading artists. The Real Thing comprises a majority of works that are either shown for the first time outside of China, or were specially commissioned for the exhibition.
The title, The Real Thing, can be taken straight, as an indication that the exhibition is a true reflection of contemporary art in China today. These predominantly young contemporary artists, largely based around Beijing and Shanghai, have chosen to remain in China, unlike many of the generation before them, and are moving towards a self-confidence and maturity that stems from an understanding of the contemporary world, China’s place within it, as well as the contemplation of their own individual positions within a society at a time of rapid, and profound cultural change.
The Real Thing can also be taken ironically – humour and irony characterise much of the art currently made in China. The sheer scale, range and ambition of many of the works, demonstrate the vivacity, energy, skill, and imagination of these artists.