• Antiwar Aesthetics

    Date posted: December 11, 2008 Author: jolanta
    Wang Guang-Yi is one of the more renowned contemporary Chinese artists. His first major solo exhibition Cold War Aesthetics is on view until March 1 at the Louise Blouin Institute, U.K. The exhibition is part of the Louise Blouin Institute’s Culture Beyond Borders series, aimed at encouraging cultural dialogue. This ambitious show by Wang is both a reflection on the imagery of Cold-War-era China, and a warning to contemporary audiences about the horrors of war. The exhibition, referencing illustrated manuals created by the Chinese government depicting how to react to a nuclear or biological attack, represents the potential catastrophic past of the Cold War that has been avoided, while simultaneously pointing to future threats lurking on the horizon. For Wang and for the viewer, the metaphor is clear: avoid a return to a Cold War mentality at all costs. Image

    Scott Bauer

    Image
    Wang Guang-Yi, People Under the Horror, 2008. Installation of freestanding sculptures, painted fiber-reinforced polymer. Courtesy of Louise Blouin Foundation.

    Wang Guang-Yi is one of the more renowned contemporary Chinese artists. His first major solo exhibition Cold War Aesthetics is on view until March 1 at the Louise Blouin Institute, U.K. The exhibition is part of the Louise Blouin Institute’s Culture Beyond Borders series, aimed at encouraging cultural dialogue.

    This ambitious show by Wang is both a reflection on the imagery of Cold-War-era China, and a warning to contemporary audiences about the horrors of war. The exhibition, referencing illustrated manuals created by the Chinese government depicting how to react to a nuclear or biological attack, represents the potential catastrophic past of the Cold War that has been avoided, while simultaneously pointing to future threats lurking on the horizon. For Wang and for the viewer, the metaphor is clear: avoid a return to a Cold War mentality at all costs.

    Cold War Aesthetics includes an installation of some 50 life-size sculptures that depict Cold War preparedness as well as a large-scale twelve-panel mural. The exhibition is complemented by a bi-weekly lecture series on aspects of contemporary Chinese art and culture, as well as a set of educational workshops and music recitals.

    “The artwork of Wang Guang-Yi was chosen as part of the cultural diplomacy efforts of the Louise Blouin Foundation,” Louise Blouin MacBain said. “Our foundation believes that in an era of globalization, where no nation is a superpower, trust, sharing, and the respect of cultural difference is essential to confronting global challenges and to avoid global conflict.”

     

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