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March 16, 2024

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Multitudinous works of art within reach

“Art within Reach II” is on display at APSMUSUEM through May 24.

The exhibition, which is curated by Xu Zidong, a leading literary expert in China, features 21 works by 20 artists, including well-known figures like Zhan Wang, Richard Long, Damien Hirst and Zhou Xiaohu.

“‘Art Within Reach I’ focused more on interior environments, while ‘Art Within Reach II’ is a step forward, searching for the connection between interior and exterior spaces, between family and nature,” Xu said.

The exhibits include artificial rocks, a red-capped mushroom replica, framed insect fragments, a pot-belly-shaped vase and footprints in the desert.

“Four broad categories — beautiful, sublime, parodic, and ugly — are frequently used in college textbooks to categorize esthetic standards from ancient times to the present,” Xu noted.

“Traditional art tends to focus more on the sublime and the beautiful, but the ludicrous and the ugly are more accepted in contemporary art,” he added. “At least in this exhibition, we attempted to ask the question: ‘Can contemporary art not be beautiful at the same time that it is abstract, challenging and subversive?’”

A good example of this is the artificial rocks by Zhan, a prominent Chinese modern artist.

The series began in 1995. Zhan created stainless steel copies of “scholar’s rocks,” which are typically seen on the desks or in the gardens of Chinese intellectuals. The mirrored stainless surfaces address the merging of human and environmental history, as well as our relationship to urban and natural settings.

One of the highlights is Giovanni Ozzola’s daunting canvas titled “Trino.”

Ozzola was born in Florence in 1982 but lives and works in the Canary Islands. He is a multidisciplinary artist who works with photography, video and more traditional media like engraving on slate or sculpture casting.

Obsessed with the traces of life in time, he wants to communicate the existence and nothingness embodied in these traces through literary means.

Rather than depicting the borders between humans and nature, the artist excels at creating a frozen moment.

Visitors watching his art tend to avoid the rush and bustle of reality. His work has become a portal to what is happening beneath the world, deep in the water, high above the sky or deep within the soul.

Another noteworthy piece is “In Extremis No. 11” by Chinese artist Zhao Zhao.

The piece depicts a flat, gilded cat sleeping on the ground. The artist creates a tranquil and pious atmosphere in the work that deals with the themes of life and death.

Zhao once saw a cat get hit by a car on the road. Cats, in his opinion, are mysterious animals who roam the streets and neighborhoods looking for food. But they have no notion, especially when confronted with metropolitan perils.

The exhibition includes several amusing pieces. Zhanna Kadyrova, a Ukrainian artist, created a bubble-sleeve garment.

The adaptability and symbolism of urban building materials are influences on her work. As a result, her art features tiles, glass, stone and concrete. In this piece, the artist uses secondhand, colorful ceramic tiles that were previously utilized in businesses and cafes in Brazil.

Chihiro Nakahara’s “Vegetable Head-Andrei” is a sculpture based on the persona shown in the artist’s paintings. Andrei, a teenager, has a reddish face covered in veggies. Andrei, who has always been a vegetarian, cultivates veggies slowly and carefully, watering them with lake water so that he can eat them all year.



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