VR Group Exhibition: Urban Country
Dates: June 9 to August 6, 2021
Venue: online, https://www.artland.com/exhibitions/chinese-group-exhibition-urban-country
“Urban Country” is a virtual group exhibition presented by ARTLAND, featuring works by Fu Wenjun, Zhai Liang, Zou Sijin, Lu Xinjian, Gao Yuan, and Liu Di, in collaboration with five leading contemporary art galleries based in China—Independent Image Art Space, A Thousand Plateaus Art Space, ART LABOR Gallery, Capsule Shanghai and Migrant Bird Space.
In the face of the increasing phenomenon of urbanisation in countries such as China, the theme revolves around the complex relationship between city and country life. Many of the works depict settings that have both rural and urban elements, raising the question of whether these two seemingly polar opposite regions and lifestyles can coexist. Some urban scenes seem so freshly built, they still show remnants of the countryside. Other scenes show a lush countryside with city remnants, suggesting that the reverse development might have happened here.
Urban Country" explores the differences and crossovers between what we understand as urban and what is rural. During uncertain times in the midst of a pandemic, the virtual exhibition also questions what we as human beings still consider a safe living environment – be it a city, the countryside or a completely virtual space online.
Fu Wenjun, "Neighbors" 2009
Detail image of "Neighbors"
“Neighbors” illustrates the artist’s reimagining of the city of Chongqing.
Chongqing is a prime example of a city that has successfully transformed from a traditional industrial city to a modern metropolis. In the process, however, the city, formerly characterized by its traditional stilted buildings, gradually gave way to modern urban planning.
Fu Wenjun spent several years capturing on camera the city’s remaining stilted buildings, most of which were about to be demolished. He then assembled these images into a 16-meter-long panorama, bringing together fragmented memories to create a nostalgic idea of a city, which stretches across the wall like an ancient scroll.
Fu Wenjun, "Birds Flying Over Head" 2017
The work “Birds Flying Overhead” represents Fu Wenjun’s “Digital Pictorial Photography” - a unique style which places photography art in dialogue with other media, such as Chinese ink painting, oil painting, and sculpture. The work is part of the series “Misplacement”.