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Seeing the Unseen Brings Contemporary Chinese Art to The Ringling

The Ringling explores contemporary Chinese art in the exhibition “Seeing the Unseen”, Aug. 15-Feb. 28.

The exhibition will feature photographic and video works by eight renowned Chinese artists including Cao Fei, Li Wei, Wang Qingsong, and Miao Xiaochun. Reflecting the artistic innovations of our media age, their works provide a fresh view of China’s rapidly changing socio-cultural landscape. These Chinese artists apply new concepts and technology to record and present inspiring moments veiled in daily life.

“Connecting with the vibrant Chinese contemporary art community presents The Ringling with a spectacular opportunity,” Steven High, Executive Director of The Ringling said. “This exhibition displays The Ringling’s commitment to contemporary art and our increasing focus on the art of Asia.”

The artists featured in the exhibition explore approaches, subjects, and styles, while mixing aesthetic ideas, cultural expressions, and commercial inspiration in their works. Individually and as a group, they use art photography and video to tackle issues of identity and experience, youth culture and urban development, history and memory, and the conflicts of tradition and commercialization in contemporary China.

“Seeing the Unseen” will also feature a performance by Chinese visual artist Li Wei at 2 p.m. on Nov. 17, in the sky behind the statue of “David” in the Courtyard of the Museum of Art. This performance is open to the public and photography is encouraged. Li’s works often mix performance and installation with photography, showing gravity-defying activities.

Li has gained global acclaim for his “Fall” series of photographs, which depict him embedded in the street with his feet facing up or half-way submerged in a lake. Li’s latest works include the ongoing “Fly” series, which he has recently performed at the Grand Palais in Paris and over the Piazza San Marco in Venice.

“The unmatched talent and insight of these artists enables them to capture many mundane scenes and transform them into inspiring images,” said Dr. Fan Zhang, the Wall-Apelt Associate Curator of Asian Art. “It is through their camera lens that the viewers will obtain a rare opportunity to mediate upon what we have so often overlooked in our daily lives.”

This is Dr. Zhang’s first exhibition of Asian contemporary art at The Ringling.

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