"Difference" and "Great Harmony" Humanistic Orientation in Yixin Wang's New Exhibition

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"Difference" and "Great Harmony" Humanistic Orientation in Yixin Wang's New Exhibition
by Yujie Tong

In the context of globalization, cultural differences constitute the diversity of the human society, and the concept of "Difference" and "Great Harmony" is exactly the perfect interpretation of the Law of Unity of Opposites in cultural differences. If the idea of "difference" embodies the most indispensable personalized values in cultural differences, then the concept of "Great Harmony" represents the consensus values of human beings in pursuit of the ideal state of perfection and beauty. Two thousand years ago, the Chinese philosopher Confucius proposed the concept of “Great Harmony.” Nowadays, the realm of "Great Harmony” emerges in the context of globalization again, which is the process of different cultures encountering and integrating again in modern society. The "Difference" of the social and cultural landscape and the "Great Harmony" of the human society yearning for the values of freedom and harmony compose a vision of progress and development of human beings, which is exactly the original intention and purport of the Borderless — Eastern and Western: Excellent Artworks Exhibition by International Young Artists.

Borderless — Eastern and Western: Excellent Artworks Exhibition by International Young Artists is co-hosted by the Rodin International Artists Foundation as well as Drexel University Westphal College of Media Arts & Design. It reappears the disparities and diversity of eastern and western cultures between “Difference” and “Great Harmony” so that both challenges and opportunities are provided to the collision and blend of distinctive cultures around the world. Overall 100 works of art created by 48 international young artists represent the theme of the exhibition “Borderless — Eastern and Western” in the context of globalization from multiple perspectives, and attempt to convey the values of global contemporary art that transcend time and geographical space beyond the eastern and western cultures.

Beyond suspicion, the identification and transcendence of cultural identity in the modern society are not only one of the core topics of establishing the context of globalization, but initiates a type of global consciousness via the exhibition in an artistic way. For example, in the piece A Trip to Delvaux, an oriental female travels in the city street view created by Paul Delvaux. At the moment, the eastern and western cultural encounters dramatically within a particular surreal situation produced by Delvaux. It’s like an allegorical reproduction of the challenges and integration issues faced by oriental and occidental cultures in the context of globalization. Paul Delvaux is an outstanding surrealist artist of the 20th century in Belgium. His works of art mainly concentrate on western cities, historical buildings and human beings, dreamily revealing the relationship between cities and desire, life and death, reality and history. When the East meets the West in the face of the same destiny of humans, globalization for mankind's development is both an opportunity and a challenge.At present, one of the significant characteristics of globalization is the rapid development of information industry, which not only brings the expeditious convenience of explosive information, but also comes along with the unadulterated anxiety of fragmented information. The oriental body in the Inverse Space is in such an illogical and uncertain context of information globalization. The floating global network of information, and the suspended objects of life, are the subjects of existential distress and future exploration for the younger generation. Nevertheless, there is a kind of expression and exploration of the future, which is more in line with the culture and knowledge reconstruction in the global consciousness of young artists. For example, the application of artificial intelligence and digital technology in various industries provide a means for the birth of post-human cognition and consciousness as well as the establishment of intelligent virtual world. When the intelligent virtual world of the network becomes the main body of social life, how can people be human? How to transcend the noumenon of beings? Perhaps the future game and fusion between androids and real people will change the evolutionary history of human civilization and mechanical civilization. The cyberman in Ballerina, a fantasy of human-machine combination and biological reconstruction of future life, presents a mechanical and humanized ballerina in a beautiful and strange way. The main body of the work is emphasized as the combination of the android’s soul and the constructed mechanical body, which is the result of intelligent production and cybernetics. In cyberculture, artificial intelligence, artificial life, body modification and genetic engineering are all involved. The core topic is the game between artificial intelligence and cybernetics and the question is whether artificial intelligence controls human beings or humans harnesses artificial intelligence? Or Is artificial intelligence going to be equal in a contest with humans? The work Girl in Suit, the shape of the thousand hands bodhisattva presents a blessed vision of the ideal world of human perfection and beauty in the combination of mankind and machine. The cyber-consciousness in the works of young artists reproduces the features of mechanical limbs to replace or strengthen the physical organization, breaking through the boundary between android and real people. It is a re-shaping of the spirit inspired by the times to make the scientific fantasy in cyberculture be realized to live. This kind of surrealist art of young artists not only derives from their extraordinary imagination of the future world, but also from the idealism of human beings' yearning for a harmonious world. Contemporary Landscape is an imitation of Chinese artist Fan Kuan’s Xi Shan Xing Lv Tu. The landscape elements in the work are vertically and horizontally superimposed to create the human-sized bones by X-ray films, so that the structure of the mountain is a human bone structure, and the pattern in the work virtualizes a vision of re-construction of civilization.

It can be seen that the concept of "Difference" and “Great Harmony" among the works is a game and merging process of cultural identity as well as the disparities and diversity of their environment. Therefore, regardless of surrealism art or realism art, the motif and narrative styles can be varied, but the theme of humanity's expression remains forever. Humanism purport covers dimensions of cultural criticism and cultural progress, and cultural criticism is more essential. For example, Cow's New Outfit borrowed Five Oxen created by a Tang Dynasty artist named Han Huang. Then, the artist reconstructed five oxen in three dimensions, in which four cattle shall be changed into four cows and camouflaged with decoration. In the artist's words: "The black and white markings of cows have been digital camouflages to show how unsafe practices in the dairy industry can deceive consumers through technological means." The piece also questions the current food safety and social morality, which precisely shows a young artist's sense of responsibility for promoting social progress. We can see that in the Borderless — Eastern and Western: Excellent Artworks Exhibition by International Young Artists, whether as individual artists or groups, critical realism art has a strong making sense of problem throughout the exhibition. Making sense of problems not only points to modern society, but also to history. In the work Braid, the artist used a well-known symbol in Chinese history -- male’s "long braid" of the Qing Dynasty to make an installation. This symbolized "long braid", known as one of the two "heritages" of Chinese feudal society, was once the memory of persecution and insult to human nature in Chinese history. It is an important cultural criticism that if modern society decides to forget cultural humiliations, it is not necessarily a sign of social progress. Also, the work Necromancer represents a modern reflection of historical consciousness for the American artist. Ancient divination speakings used to be the only source of belief and information for human social activities, and the disembodied hands in Necromancer seem empty and hollow in the background of this language. It can be easily seen that the subjective consciousness of the artist's criticism is very obvious, and the artist also reminds people that the power of modern faith derives from the achievements in various fields of human civilization and social progress. It’s quite obvious that oriental and occidental artists share a common awareness of the problems involved in reality, no matter how they are different in the expression of their artistic inspirations or styles. In other words, it is indispensable to promote the values of "Great Harmony” in the cultural progress of “utter goodwill” and “utter perfection” of humans, and the cultural progress is based on cultural criticism.

Blissfully, Borderless—Eastern and Western: An International Exhibition of Young Artists showcases a type of hyperrealistic art of neorealism that plays the role of cultural criticism. As hyperrealism appears frequently in the exhibition, it has created an amazing and fascinating artistic tendency of neorealism. In the history of art, the birth of photography provides convenience for landscape reproduction. However, hyperrealistic art of neorealism not only surpasses the visual communication and expression of photography, but also magnifies the values of “utter goodwill” and “utter perfection” in art and humanity. For example, the visual logic in Floating Life Series is a scene of daily hair washing: the thickness of white foam accumulation and the soft quality of chestnut hair blend together, forming a sort of warm and natural portrayal of daily life. The work selects a daily life situation with a high degree of exquisite realistic skills, so that the texture and cordiality of visual language become more tangible. The strong sensory modality of hyperrealism not only brings a revelation of the “utter goodwill” and “utter perfection”, but also transforms the existence of individual daily activities into a cultural allegory in visual language. The name of the work Floating Life Series also has the interpretation in different dimensions. The body language of shampooing has not only meaning in daily life, but also the practical meaning of questioning culture. Perhaps, the daily physical behavior is only superficial, but the ubiquity of the daily interfering factors has become a challenge faced by the eastern and western cultures in the process of globalization. So, how to face new problems in globalization? The female who looks confidently forward in the work Light Makeup’s precisely responds to the dramatic body language of “shampooing” in Floating Life. It proves that hyperrealism is not only a reproduction of skills, but also a medium for creating cultural allegory. Perhaps, the verisimilitude of hyperrealism and the rawness of the main narration demonstrate a strong sensory substitution of times, which is a kind of charm of hyperrealism with the neo-realism style. In the field of contemporary art, the visual language established by hyperrealism still maintains its distinctive human characters of modern times.

Borderless — Eastern and Western: Excellent Artworks Exhibition by International Young Artists displays works of art with different mediums and thoughts by artists from many countries, and with geographical cultural identities connecting and blending. Of course, the “utter goodwill”, “utter perfection” and “Great Harmony” of human characters in global consciousness, embodied in the exhibition theme “Borderless — Eastern and Western” is illustrated completely. As the foreword mentions, "Culture requires to be learned, respected and identified with each other. Both Eastern and Western cultures made and are making a significant and imperishable contribution to the development of world civilizations. Development of cultures and civilization can be realized only in the harmonious progress of human societies and overall development of mankind with tolerance to diverse cultures of the world. Young artists are the futuristic force driving the ceaseless flourish of art."

In the Borderless—Eastern and Western: Excellent Artworks Exhibition by International Young Artists, we witnessed 100 works from 48 international young artists. As the "future power", young artists wisdom and courage manifest the overall strength of cultural tolerance and artistic thought: sharpness in calmness, peculiarity in peace, true feeling in plainness. It perfectly explicates the contemporary art of realism and surrealism, bringing the artistic expression of diversity and consensus of globalization into the value of “utter goodwill” and “utter perfection” in the integrating process of “Difference” and “Great Harmony”. We have reason to believe that young artists have the courage to become a force for the future of mankind. Also, in the process of the exploration and integration of the diversity and consensus of globalization, the "individual difference" of culture is used to build “utter goodwill” and “utter perfection “ in the history of the contemporary civilization of “Great harmony”.


Tong Yujie : Associate Researcher and curator at Xi'an Academy of Fine Arts, the author of several publications including "Fox Wind" (a poetry collection), "Dragon Talks About Dragons" (a collection of art critiques), "Whose Postmodernism?" (a collection of art theory essays), and "Rhetoric of Chinese Feminist Art" (a scholarly book). She is about to finish her latest work, "The Politics of Art." Since 2010, she has curated several exhibitions including "The Eye of Heaven and Earth," "Slices of China," "Chang'an Style—Contemporary Sculpture in Xi'an," "Martyrdom—Live Art in Textile City Art District," "Line Speaking—Luo Ying's Contemporary Gongbi Painting Exhibition," and "Sexuality Studies Report: Live Art in Textile City Art District."

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