China’s contemporary art scene has been booming for the last decade, to say the least. With Beijing’s 789 district a historical art landmark, and the emergence of new Chinese art cities to visit, you are never short of talent to see on any trip. There are also a number of artists making waves internationally as well as at home. Here are five of the most exciting emerging artists to watch as they develop their practice and careers.
This exciting and popular artist is one of our favorites to watch as we enter the new decade as she’s been ahead of her time for years. Described as an internet artist her projects feature around Chinese online culture and digital aesthetics, producing work that is genre-bending, multidisciplinary and breathtakingly technical. She graduated from the China Academy of Art’s New Media Art department in Hangzhou in 2007 before completing a masters in Electronic Integrated Arts in New York in 2019. From then she has frequently exhibited in China and internationally, using memes and gifs as her material and screens as her canvas. Be sure to check out Chinternet Plus–a parodic project which critiques her own work and research as well as branding and online messaging.
Miao Ying www.miaoyingstudio.com
You may have already heard of He Xiangyu as he was one of the four artists to represent China in the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. And if you don’t, it’s time to look him up! His work Lemon Project has reached international acclaim as a collection of paintings, installations and sculptures all focused around his research on the color lemon–as a symbol across cultures and countries. He has an experimental and dynamic practice which is often described as a conceptual laboratory in which Xiangyu explores his subjects. With exhibitions in the UK, Venice, and China, he is definitely one to watch.
He Xiangyu www.hexiangyu.com
Shiyuan’s work blends together myriad hidden details and messages amongst obvious and apparent imagery–it’s both cheeky and sophisticated. Her work often explores growing up in the rapidly globalizing China, and her experience as a young cosmopolitan Chinese diaspora outside of the motherland in Denmark where she now lives. Spanning through digital collage to sculpture and installation, she delightfully plays within the materiality of analog and digital. Her latest work, Full Moon (image above) which was shown at the UCCA in Beijing used sound as a medium with which to explore messaging, showing her exciting and impressive range and promise for the future.
Liu Shiyuan www.shiyuanliu.com
This ground-breaking artist doesn’t use paint and brushes as his material but the likes of algorithms, virtual landscapes, and digital renderings to create work that explores themes of Chinese culture in contemporary and exciting ways. His 2014 work Body Shadow (image above) sought to portray the traditional practices of Chinese medicine through modern technologies such as 3D printing and tattooing–an example of his experimental way of working. As well as increasing international interest–with popularity in the US especially–he has also enjoyed acclaim in his home town Xi’an where he had a solo show at the OCAT gallery space there. For new and groundbreaking ideas this artist will continue to go from strength to strength.
Xiu Wenkai www.artlinkart.com
Born in Shanghai but now working in Beijing, Cui Jie is an architectural painter that pays homage to China’s rapidly changing urban landscape with futuristic paintings. Her sci-fi futuristic style incorporates a playfulness which is endearing to look at while the very real subject of the city–and expansion of–hides beneath the metallic colors and cartoon clouded skies. Her unique talent for designing up a future and making it seem sweet enough to eat has earned her a multitude of group and solo shows in Europe and Asia. For a traditional painter with a modern twist, Cui Jie is sure to be a favorite.
Cui Jie www.leoxuprojects.com