The Chinese dissidents expose themselves
The Belgian art collector and gallery owner Adrian David has been supporting dissident Chinese artists for more than fifteen years.
Adrian David Miss Mao 2005 from Gao Brothers
At the occasion of the new exposition at the Louis Vuitton foundation devoted to contemporary Chinese Art and on the eve of the Chinese New Year Adrian David talks about his career as an arts collector and about his commitment to the case of Chinese dissident artists. The Belgian gallery owner has been supporting them for more than fifteen years. At the premises of his prestigious foundation, the artworks of Dali Zhang, Xiaogang Zhang and of the Gao brothers have joined those of Rauschenberg, Dali, Vasarely, Warhol, Kapoor, Gursky ...
“When you look at the evolution of modern art, approximately starting from 1880, you can see that all the great artists were revolutionary. I collect art since I’m eleven years old. With my modest budget I managed to buy artworks from the beginning of the 17th and 18th century, from unknown artists. Later I collected Ensor, Picabia, Klee, Magritte. Then I moved on towards the American school. For 20 years I have been collecting Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, Keith Haring and many other American artists.
« Art in China defends its truth by opposing a dissident line of thought to the state authority. » Adrian David
It seems logic that with the evolution of its economy, it’s China’s turn now. The Mecca of art is where the economy rules the world. Even if Chinese art had never drawn the international attention before, China became the third Mecca of art in the history of international modern art in 2002.
An intelligent peopleAfter years of Maoist dictatorship, Ai Weiwei, Xiaogang Zhang, Wang Guangyi, Guo Wei or the Gao brothers are interesting because of their dissident behavior. I find it fascinating to analyse their ways to criticize. It’s an intelligent people which has its own vision on the evolution of art. My vision is that the beautiful was yesterday, today it’s all about anarchy, and tomorrow you will see anarchy as an expression of beauty.
These dissident artists were brave enough to criticize their country. There’s no doubt that it must be shocking for the Chinese population to be confronted with a merciless critique of its everyday life through contemporary art. But it’s this forum for artistic expression that reveals the hidden reality of China and that will try to improve this reality in the future. The confrontation in art predicts the daily language of the rising generation and it tackles an unusual situation while criticizing it.
Execution of Christ - Gao Brothers et Adrian David
GAO Brothers and Adrian David
Art from Xiaogang Zhang
Adrian David and Gao Brothers Miss Mao 2005
Execution of Christ - Gao Brothers and Adrian David
Art in China defends its truth by opposing a dissident line of thought to the state authority. The oil paintings of Xiaogang Zhang are painful memories of old family photos from the Cultural Revolution. Ai Weiwei symbolizes the portrait of a man whose spirit of self-sacrifice has not provided him with a dignified existence. The apathetic and unhappy characters of Zeng Fanzhi show the past of their country while the heroic warriors of Wan Guangyi propagate communism amidst successful Western brands for critical uses. The dissident artist are in an eternal combat against the Cultural Revolution of the Communist Party. The suffering following the Maoist regime explains the anti-Maoist stance taken by their new generation of artists who ask for additional rights for today’s Chinese citizens.
The universal innovative beauty is born out of provocation, art provokes a shock and a dialogue begins. In this case, art is no longer only stimulating but it becomes an absolute, vital necessity. Art is a means of social communication for all those who are already in touch with it. In China, contemporary art is the communication tool in spite of the silence imposed on those who share the same values. Dissident art liberates feelings and unites human beings, its a necessity that remains because the Chinese society has been shattered in the past. Those who, on the contrary, avoid conflict are blind, in a state of moral agony.
“Art is essential for the human spirit. It will never disappear.”