China is undergoing phenomenal transformations at record speeds and nowhere is this rapid change more visibly documented than in the development of Chinese contemporary art over the last 20 years. While increasing number of Chinese artists hold exhibitions overseas, renowned international artists and prestigious museums are entering China, creating an art forum of international standards and transforming Chinese contemporary art from a passive state to one of continuous action and interaction. From the flourishing of art venues in major cities to the booming Chinese art market abroad, Chinese contemporary art is on the move.
"Art in Motion" is a joint initiative of the Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai (MoCA Shanghai) and BMW China, and is a product of a vibrant international cultural exchange. This impressive cooperative effort offers public insight into the transformation of contemporary society in China through the eyes of 30+ China's famed artists, and is metaphorically illustrated on a global scale through the literal aesthetic transformation of an automobile by some of the world's foremost artists.
The BMW Art Car program was launched in 1975, as the brainchild of the French auctioneer and racecar driver Hervé Poulain, who asked his friend and artist Alexander Calder to transform a BMW racecar into a "work of fine art." The initial idea transformed 15 racecar models into art cars from well-known American artists such as Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol. In the Eighties, both the model of car and selection of artist evolved to include recognized international artists and models from the main production line. Over time these mobile works of art have taken their rightful place in museums around the world, but aesthetically attractive as they may be, these vehicles do not limit themselves to a fine art context, rather they continue to be included in automobile exhibits and races around the world.
Debuting for the first time in the mainland are four BMW art cars from internationally renowned artists, Alexander Calder, David Hockney, Jenny Holzer and Matazo Koyama.
The exhibition also features 30+ China's most celebrated contemporary artists, whose works can be divided into the following six research topics:
1) From Social Realism to Expressive Individualism:
Luo Zhongli, Fang Lijun, Yue Minjun, Yang Shaobin, Liu Xiaodong, Yu Hong, Xiang Jing;
2) From Romanticism to the inspiration from the ancient classic, "Peach Blossom Shangri-la":
He Duoling, Zhang Xiaogang, Zeng Fanzhi, Liu Wei, Zhan Wang
3) Visual Symbolic Systems and Communications:
Wang Guangyi, Li Shan, Zhou Chunya, Ding Yi, Ye Yongqing, Liu Ye, Zhou Tiehai, Yan Lei
4) Neo-Literati Art:
Lu Fusheng, Yuan Jai, Yang Fudong
5) Experimentation with materials and Multimedia:
Sui Jianguo, Liu Jianhua, Wang Gongxin, Lin Tianmiao, Wang Jianwei
6) Conceptualism and Crossovers:
Ai Weiwei, Wu Shanzhuan, The Long March Project
These artists' exploration from different angles and their prominent achievements reflect the development of Chinese contemporary art in the past twenty years.
Located inside People's Park in the city center, the Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai is the first purely private, not-for-profit contemporary art museum in China. Since its opening in September 2005, the museum has organized eight large-scale international exhibitions, and in addition to exhibiting the works of important international artists, the museum places special emphasis on providing a platform for Chinese contemporary art.
The BMW Group is one of the most successful premium manufacturers in the world, and BMW products have a high reputation for their aesthetic design, engineering excellence, craftsmanship and their sheer driving pleasure. Since entering the Chinese market in 1994, the BMW Group has been not only been committed to introducing the latest products and technologies to China, but also to supporting cross-cultural communications. The cooperation between the Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai and the BMW Group for the exhibition of BMW Art Cars is a new project towards the promotion of contemporary art.