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My Generation

Chi Peng, Sprinting Forward 4, 2004, C-Print, 47 ¼” x 91 ½”. Courtesy of the Tampa Museum of Art.

Chi Peng, Sprinting Forward 4, 2004, C-Print, 47 ¼” x 91 ½”. Courtesy of the Tampa Museum of Art.

Tampa Museum of Art and Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg

By Claire Fenton

“My Generation: 27 Artists from China” is the first U.S. exhibition focused on the post-Mao generation of Chinese artists that offers a look at how that country’s uncontrolled mega-development has impacted its thinking and culture. The show is curated by Barbara Pollack, an arts journalist who has traveled extensively throughout China and investigated the Chinese art scene since the late 1990s. She interviewed over 100 young artists from every region of China in preparation for this exhibition.

The show includes installations, photography, videos, paintings, drawings and mixed-media works whose craftsmanship and conceptualization completely defy our preconceptions about the traditional idea of China. The artists examine their country and their daily lives from a global and universal perspective. Their statements constitute a kaleidoscope of opinions and points of view that address different issues ranging from analysis of the economy and society to issues related to the individual, such as alienation, self-definition, cynicism and rebellion against the status quo in a country in which censorship reigns.

Pollack has created thematic lines to organize the different works included in this show. The artists featured in St. Petersburg reflect on political issues and the tensions between uncontrolled urban development and the environment. For its part, the works at Tampa Museum of Art reflect on existential issues. Sprinting Forward (2004) by Chi Peng deals with surveillance and control of citizens by the government and also is a wise commentary about loneliness and lack of communication in today’s world. Through September 21, 2014.

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