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Normal logic does not apply to art exhibit

AN exhibition featuring nearly 60 artworks created by Pang Maokun is on display at Shanghai Art Museum through September 12.

The "Mythology of Today" exhibition includes canvas, sketches and drawings.

Some may be puzzled at the title for Pang's solo show, as these pieces don't feature ancient stories of mythical heroes and immortals.

But the meaning becomes clear based on a definition in the "Modern Chinese Dictionary" that states mythology means "an absurd and groundless statement."

This appears more appropriate for Pang's latest pieces.

Seemingly unconnected people, animals, products and backgrounds have all been placed in the same setting, which forms a new spectacle.

As this spectacle no longer focuses on the normal logic of things, it no longer complies with the harmony of visual and spatial arrangements in a traditional way.

Born in 1963 in Chongqing Municipality, Pang graduated from the Sichuan Institute of Fine Arts in 1985.

"The definition of art is a crucial question for every artist in China," Pang says.

"Today the Chinese find themselves in such a broadly open and changed era, and verification of the true meaning of art is sought through the hardship of all sorts of experiences."

In 1998, Pang paid an academic visit to the Netherlands Academy of Fine Arts in Amsterdam.

In 1996, he joined an international art exchange exhibition in St Petersburg, Russia, where he was exposed to works created by Western masters, both ancient and modern.

The experience was important for an artist in the process of exploration. After returning to China, he earnestly cleared out his own thinking and resolutely began to change his painting style.

In his new work, images of the human body and facial likenesses are executed as if they were flowers in the fog or the moon behind water.

His paintings become ever larger, while the figures portrayed are reduced to partial views. The facial expressions render a sense of warmth and gentleness.

"I should say that the schematics of painting itself is not at all important. What matters is what it can provide and reveal in terms of our spiritual worlds," concludes Pang.

Date: through September 12, 9am-5pm

Venue: Shanghai Art Museum, 325 Najing Rd W.


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