"I'll Not Bulge an Inch" by Liu Dao "Broadzilla" by Liu Dao

Everyday Frenzies 躁动人生

As Liu Dao 六岛 unveiled the first part of the new multi-media series at Beijing’s Green T. House, island6 inaugurated the second installment in Shanghai. Shan Shui art is at the very core of the Everyday Frenzies exhibition, where Chinese tradition mends elegantly with modern technology.

Although the worlds of Jin and Song Dynasty poets such as Xie Lingyun 谢灵运 and painters like Wen Tianxiang 文天祥 have changed in terms of infrastructure, culture, and economy, the aspirations of many like-minded artists remain the same today: to survey overwhelming surroundings and overcome fear, to harness chaos through pen or brush, and to find peace in one's mind and serenity in one's heart.

To today’s urbanites, "water mountain pictures" of their ancestors may be irrelevant, but have they been forgotten by the 21st century? Viewing life from the bottom of a subway station or the top of the World Financial Center, today's city dwellers might be oblivious to their ancestral art. Liu Dao’s innovative artwork mixes shan shui with pop art, blends rice paper with video installations, and fuses traditional paper cutting craft with LED displays, presenting the everyday frenzies of modern China, the complex mix of history and contemporaneity that marks cities as living beings.

In shan shui mixed with pop art, rice paper mixed with video, and paper cutting mixed with LEDs, island6 presents the everyday frenzies of contemporary China, the complex mix of history and contemporaneity that marks cities as living beings. In island6's arresting images, amalgamations of qipaos and pole-dancers, crumbling structures and untouched valleys make sense. In close reverence to shan shui masters, and in expectation of the Chinese art of tomorrow, the art is very much of its time. Every scene bears different contours, fresh angles, and new perspectives. In traditional shan shui paintings, three key elements are required: a path that meanders with the page to draw the viewer into the scene, a threshold that receives the viewers and welcomes them in, and the heart that forms the focus of the image and to which all elements lead. The maze of Shanghai, as Liu Dao sees it, has all of these features embedded naturally. Every glimpse is a natural wonder and, like a shan shui hand scroll, slowly reveals its complex and beautiful stories.

The infamous metaphor for the Chinese metropolis that is the "Shanghai Lady" is pictured in Shanghai Itch. The familiar figure reminds of Marilyn Monroe-like fashion, signal of a newer, more modern American society. Similarly, Shanghai moves freely and lightly and flirts with the Yangtze River winds. The breeze seems playful, teased by the many cultural changes occurring in her only to realize it is he that brings about the changed woman through his powerful, yet gentle, strokes. She poses, standing as a beacon for the rest of China. She lures all who are tempted to adventure into the luscious valleys and unexplored territories of her body.

The exhibition takes its title from "Laments of the Gorges" by the 8th-century poet Meng Chiao 孟郊 (translated by David Hinton):

Water swords and spears raging in gorges,
boats drift across heaving thunder. Here
in the hands of these serpents and snakes,
you face everyday frenzies of wind and rain

(The Late Poems of Meng Chiao, trans. David Hinton [Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1996], 38.)

[Brittney O'Neill, Pete Bradt, and Clare Jacobson]

"Everyday Frenzies" at island6 in Shanghai

"Everyday Frenzies"
island6 Arts Center, Shanghai

DATES From August 1st to September 3rd 2011
CURATORS Brittney O’Neill, Loo Ching Ling 吕晶琳
ART DIRECTION Thomas Charvériat
COORDINATION Zhang Leihua 张雷华 and Yeung Sin Ching 杨倩菁
WRITERS Brittney O'Neill, Pete Bradt, and Clare Jacobson
VENUE island6, 50 Moganshan Road, building #6, 2F, Shanghai 200060, PRC
ARTISTS island6 art collective (Liu Dao 六岛)

As part of a running art theme, island6 unveils a series of multimedia artworks featuring electric patterns flowing through shan shui ("water mountain") pictures and aligning contemporary media with the timeless passion of Chinese landscape painting and poetry. (read more >>>)

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island6 is a philanthropic project founded by artists and managed by devoted creative staff. The spirit & driving force behind all of island6's works and art-forward exhibitions is collaboration.
六岛是由艺术家自发创立, 由创作人员管理的公益艺术机构。其精神是为艺术家提供平台并支持各项协作项目。