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Chen Qiulin

September 29, 2009 - January 3, 2010

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ABOUT THE EXHIBITION

For the past several years artist Chen Qiulin has been exploring and documenting the rapid and tumultuous urbanization of Sichuan, her home province in southwestern China, where she still lives today. Although Chen works in multiple mediums, she recently began using video to engage her interests, mastering it without formal training. The Hammer will be presenting a selection of her videos from her first work in 2001 to her latest completed in the spring of 2009. This range allows us to witness her progression as an artist as well as the rapid and shocking changes taking place in her home town and outlying regions. From the chaotic dismantling of cities for the construction of the Three Gorges Dam, to the effects of modernization and newly found materialism on the younger generations, to the devastation of the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake, Chen shows us with stark and brutal reality, as well as gracious poetic beauty, a new China being born.

This exhibition is organized by Hammer adjunct curator James Elaine.

ESSAY

By France Pepper

As a young female artist from Sichuan Province who has had a prolific and multifaceted career, Chen Qiulin stands out among the numerous Chinese artists, predominantly male, who work in the capital, Beijing, or in the metropolis of Shanghai. Unlike her contemporaries who attended the major art academies in Beijing and Hangzhou, Chen began her unofficial art education when she accompanied her mother to work at a film company. Ther¬e she watched science and education shorts and feature films, and painted film billboards. At the age of twenty she was admitted to the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in Chongqing, where she studied the traditional Chinese art of woodblock printing, a laborious medium that emphasizes process and intimate handling of materials. After graduating in 2000, she returned to the film company to paint billboards for another year and then moved to the city of Chengdu, where she encountered performance art for the first time. Chen has since created a unique fusion of installation, performance, photography, and video, producing works that address the rapid urbanization of China’s provincial areas and the toll that this is taking on society. Her work focuses on simultaneously capturing the nostalgia for how life use to be, the confusion brought on by the fast pace of change, and the hope for a new and improved standard of living. More

 

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