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Young creators take art to a new stage

THE Third Round," an exhibition featuring canvases, installations and video works by five local artists, is currently running at the Art Now Gallery in M50.

Although the style, theme and contents vary greatly with the exhibitors - Lu Liang, Liu Bolun, Sun Daliang, Wang Weiyu and Xu Guofeng - they do share something in common: They were all graduates from the Shanghai Theater Academy in the late 1980s.

The Shanghai Theater Academy has nurtured many important names in the history of the Chinese contemporary art over the past decades, including Cai Guoqiang, a world-famous artist who rose to a career peak as director of the visual and special effects for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics last year, and Chen Zhen (1955-2000), one of China's earliest installation artists who became famous in the West.

"The aura of our predecessors makes us very proud of the Shanghai Theater Academy," says Lu.

Perhaps that's the reason Lu and his peers title this exhibition "The Third Round," manifesting their hopes to "defend the past glory of the theatre."

"Different from other art academies in the country, the Shanghai Theater Academy really broadens the vision of its students," Lu explains. "There are almost no barriers between music, drama, literature and art, which is quite helpful in producing contemporary art."

Thus Cai's fireworks and Chen's installations can have a great impact on the international art scene.

These five participating artists who were born in the 1970s, are still struggling to find their own art language.

"We understand that currently our art is less impressive than those created by the big names," says Lu, "but our passion for art and our duty to the academy will never fade."

Desire and depression are the main theme of Lu's canvas, while humor is reflected in Wang's art pieces.

"Everyone seems to be very tense in this big metropolis," Lu says. "I try to mirror the real conditions of modern life, the oppressed desires and the omnipresent ennui of humankind."

It is a pity that most of the works in the exhibition are oil paintings, and don't inherit the acclaim of their predecessors.

But it is a start.

"We only care about the call from our inner side, the true voices from the deepest part in our hearts," Lu says.

Date: through May 26 (closed on Monday), 10am-6pm

Address: Rm 201, Bldg 3, 50 Moganshan Rd


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