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The City Marked by Youngmen

 

The image of the city generally refers toconcrete visions or scenes of the city that emerge in your heart. But may wefirst discuss what a “city” is? Many people living in cities now may rarelyconsider this question. Why is that? It is perhaps because they were born incities, or have lived in them for a long time. For them, the city is like theair they breathe, the skin on their bodies, the people close to them, somethingwhich need not be defined. Nevertheless, in order to understand thesignificance of cities in our lives, the author would like to share herthoughts on cities with everyone, and use this as a lens for understanding theattitudes and thoughts of two young artists, Wang Xiaoshuang and Zhu Peihong,regarding the city.

 

A shiny exterior, convenient service, flows ofcars and crowds, a frenetic pace of life, indifference and suspicion betweenpeople, these are the most widespread impressions people have of the city. Manyof the familiar phenomena of the city are byproducts of the monetary economy,and are strengthened by the economy’s emphasis on exchange value. The monetaryeconomy is an inevitable choice for the city. Under this economic model, thereemerged the “consumer,” an identity removed from the chain of production andlabor. The use value of all things was rapidly diluted, leaving behind onlyexchange value. The reason the author has briefly mentioned the monetaryeconomy, the decoupling of labor and consumption, and the extreme magnificationof exchange value, is that all major cities today are built on capitalism, andthe influence of the monetary economy is constantly increasing, making themonetary economy and related issues the key to interpreting the socialphenomena of these major cities. In fact, the operations of the big cities arepropped up by people's constant desire for novelty, and the big cities in turnperpetually provoke people's insatiable desires. The city can be a synonym forconvenience and flashiness, but behind the shiny exterior lies loneliness,unease, feelings of rejection, and so called “civilization fatigue” anddepression. These things follow the city like a shadow. That is to say, afterbeing liberated from heavy labor, modern people gave up on the pursuit ofmeaning in life, and began to live like bodies bereft of souls, draining all oftheir time in a busy daze. This calls to mind the description of city life byearly twentieth century writer Charles Baudelaire. Baudelaire saw himself as avagrant strolling through the city, a connoisseur. He discovered that as hestrolled through the crowds, he felt an unshakable unease, dejection andsolitude. Baudelaire's “shadows” continue to loom beneath the city.

 

The exhibition title The City Marked byYoungmen emphasizes the different views and means of expression these twoyoung artists employ when exploring the unique space that is the "city”.Participating artists Wang Xiaoshuang and Zhu Peihong analyze urban phenomenafrom different perspectives and build their visions of the city on the canvasusing different visual languages. One could say that Wang Xiaoshuang digs deepdown to unearth the soul in the depths of the city, while Zhu Peihong makesdetailed observations of its surface. Wang Xiaoshuang focuses on theindividual's reflections on the city and seeks out the value of the individualin the crowd, while Zhu Peihong uses abstraction techniques and objective,distanced perspectives to present the expansion, contraction and change of thecity. Zhu Peihong's vision of the city is rooted in the soil of the city like aplant, probing and growing within. In his paintings, the viewer senses that allthat is beautiful and precious is fragile and vulnerable like glass. ZhuPeihong's vision of the city evokes a primordial chaos that swallowseverything. The colors and lines in his paintings give ample expression to histhoughts on the space of his existence. Identical women appear repeatedly inWang Xiaoshuang's works, an expression of the unease and solitude theindividual feels in the crowd, and the confusion of confronting life's meaning.The indifferent expressions of the women who fill Wang Xiaoshuang's paintingshave the slightest touch of dejection. They have perhaps realized that nomatter how alluring the beautiful things of the city, they are powerless tostop the blind advance of society. These women underline the unease that comesto us from the big city. One woman appears as if under a spotlight. Herexistence is a symbol for people who desire meaning in life. In ade-personalized modern society, among the crowd, they try to restore the valueand significance of the individual.

 

Now, thesetwo young artists will tell a story about the city.

The gazeis his “Observation”...

The sightis her “existence”...

 

 

Mi-Ryoung Kim (Creative Art Director, The Parkview Museum)


The City Marked by Youngmen

 

The image of the city generally refers toconcrete visions or scenes of the city that emerge in your heart. But may wefirst discuss what a “city” is? Many people living in cities now may rarelyconsider this question. Why is that? It is perhaps because they were born incities, or have lived in them for a long time. For them, the city is like theair they breathe, the skin on their bodies, the people close to them, somethingwhich need not be defined. Nevertheless, in order to understand thesignificance of cities in our lives, the author would like to share herthoughts on cities with everyone, and use this as a lens for understanding theattitudes and thoughts of two young artists, Wang Xiaoshuang and Zhu Peihong,regarding the city.

 

A shiny exterior, convenient service, flows ofcars and crowds, a frenetic pace of life, indifference and suspicion betweenpeople, these are the most widespread impressions people have of the city. Manyof the familiar phenomena of the city are byproducts of the monetary economy,and are strengthened by the economy’s emphasis on exchange value. The monetaryeconomy is an inevitable choice for the city. Under this economic model, thereemerged the “consumer,” an identity removed from the chain of production andlabor. The use value of all things was rapidly diluted, leaving behind onlyexchange value. The reason the author has briefly mentioned the monetaryeconomy, the decoupling of labor and consumption, and the extreme magnificationof exchange value, is that all major cities today are built on capitalism, andthe influence of the monetary economy is constantly increasing, making themonetary economy and related issues the key to interpreting the socialphenomena of these major cities. In fact, the operations of the big cities arepropped up by people's constant desire for novelty, and the big cities in turnperpetually provoke people's insatiable desires. The city can be a synonym forconvenience and flashiness, but behind the shiny exterior lies loneliness,unease, feelings of rejection, and so called “civilization fatigue” anddepression. These things follow the city like a shadow. That is to say, afterbeing liberated from heavy labor, modern people gave up on the pursuit ofmeaning in life, and began to live like bodies bereft of souls, draining all oftheir time in a busy daze. This calls to mind the description of city life byearly twentieth century writer Charles Baudelaire. Baudelaire saw himself as avagrant strolling through the city, a connoisseur. He discovered that as hestrolled through the crowds, he felt an unshakable unease, dejection andsolitude. Baudelaire's “shadows” continue to loom beneath the city.

 

The exhibition title The City Marked byYoungmen emphasizes the different views and means of expression these twoyoung artists employ when exploring the unique space that is the "city”.Participating artists Wang Xiaoshuang and Zhu Peihong analyze urban phenomenafrom different perspectives and build their visions of the city on the canvasusing different visual languages. One could say that Wang Xiaoshuang digs deepdown to unearth the soul in the depths of the city, while Zhu Peihong makesdetailed observations of its surface. Wang Xiaoshuang focuses on theindividual's reflections on the city and seeks out the value of the individualin the crowd, while Zhu Peihong uses abstraction techniques and objective,distanced perspectives to present the expansion, contraction and change of thecity. Zhu Peihong's vision of the city is rooted in the soil of the city like aplant, probing and growing within. In his paintings, the viewer senses that allthat is beautiful and precious is fragile and vulnerable like glass. ZhuPeihong's vision of the city evokes a primordial chaos that swallowseverything. The colors and lines in his paintings give ample expression to histhoughts on the space of his existence. Identical women appear repeatedly inWang Xiaoshuang's works, an expression of the unease and solitude theindividual feels in the crowd, and the confusion of confronting life's meaning.The indifferent expressions of the women who fill Wang Xiaoshuang's paintingshave the slightest touch of dejection. They have perhaps realized that nomatter how alluring the beautiful things of the city, they are powerless tostop the blind advance of society. These women underline the unease that comesto us from the big city. One woman appears as if under a spotlight. Herexistence is a symbol for people who desire meaning in life. In ade-personalized modern society, among the crowd, they try to restore the valueand significance of the individual.

 

Now, thesetwo young artists will tell a story about the city.

The gazeis his “Observation”...

The sightis her “existence”...

 

 

Mi-Ryoung Kim (Creative Art Director, The Parkview Museum)


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