It’s the second Saturday in February and that means Art Walk in Wynwood and the Design District tonight. Even though just about everyone focuses on the walk more than the art during this monthly event — in part because a human-stuffed gallery is hardly conducive to chin-stroking contemplation — you may want to stop in at Wynwood’s Butter Gallery to catch Paper before it closes on Feb. 26.
The exhibit features works on paper, “the essential Chinese invention”, by four young Chinese artists from Hangzhou: Guo Tiantian, Qiyuan, Su Xiangpan, and Zheng Tianming. Having grown up after the end of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, the four China Academy of Art grads are fusing East and West to express themselves with a freedom and sentimentality unique to their generation, says show curator Inez Suen. I recently spoke to Suen, who also heads the International Chinese Fine Arts Council (ICFAC), about Paper (or zhǐ), “body parts morphing into lotus flowers”, and her grand mission to unite the global Chinese arts community.
Inez Suen: To be totally honest, it was because paper is easy to carry and easy to ship. Works on paper are pretty popular now, and I felt it was a good way to introduce the artists to an international market. This is their first international show. They’ve only ever showed in China.
All four artists are in their 20s. Was it a conscious decision to showcase such young talent?
IS: Butter Gallery is all about emerging artists and cutting-edge art. I curated with that in mind. They also represent a new China. All of these artists grew up in the “New China” era. They didn’t go through the Cultural Revolution, and they didn’t go through the tough times. They grew up in a modern China with video games, and they had McDonald’s. They didn’t suffer – let’s put it that way.