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The Whitworth announces first UK exhibition from major Chinese art collection

23 Jun 2015

Eighty significant works by contemporary Chinese artists will go on show from 1 July to 20 September 2015 in the Whitworth's newly renovated exhibition spaces

On the Wall - Shenzhen (i) (2002) by Weng Fen

'Four Decades of Chinese Art' is the first show curated from the renowned M+ Sigg Collection, a gathering-together of new work by China's emerging artists over the past four decades, which is now widely considered to be the best in the world. The exihibition brings together 80 significant works by leading contemporary Chinese artists including Ai Weiwei, Cao Fei and Zhang Peili, to examine how art can question, challenge and stimulate.

Spanning 40 years, it will explore questions concerning the conditions for artistic practice, freedom of expression and the freedom of art by taking visitors on a journey through the subversive practice of artists, including the 'No Name Group', via events on Tiananmen Square in 1989 and ending with the incredibly vibrant art scene of today.

Highlights include Weng Fen's On the Wall series (2002) (a photograph from the series is shown above), which captures China in the throes of rapid urbanisation in the early 2000s. Often featuring adolescents sat on a wall, these extraordinary photographs present the personal transition that mirors China's own economic, political and social change.

Dr Maria Balshaw, Director of the Whitworth, commented: "The M+ Sigg collection is drawn from Swiss collector Uli Sigg's unique collection that arose out of his realisation that the experimental contemporary art practics emerging across China were going undocumented. It is now univerally recognised as the largest, most comprehensive and important historical 'document' of the culturally dynamic period of Chinese history between the 1970s to the present day. It will form the backbone of the new M+ museum in Hong King, due to open in 2017. We are honored and delighted to be the only UK gallery to show these works."

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