Global symbology

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This month London’s Scream Art Gallery  presents at Art 14, a platform for global art aimed at promoting artistic and cultural exchange between East and West. Established in 2006, Scream Art Gallery has rapidly garnered a strong reputation for its dynamic, high-impact works by artists from all corners of the globe.

Scream’s presentation for the show aims to explore the language of signs and symbols imbued in the universal collective consciousness. The exhibition consists of highly produced works in a variety of traditional and non-traditional mediums, ranging from photography and painting to children’s stickers, neon lights and layered glass. Artists who will be exhibiting their works this year include Pakpoom Silaphan (Thailand), STATIC (UK), Yael Kanarek (Israel), David Buckinghim (USA), and notably Chinese contemporary artists Liu Bolin, Ye Hongxing, and Chien-Yang Wang (Taiwan).

Chinese contemporary artist Liu Bolin was born in 1973 in Shandong province. His practice is often informed by the rapidly changing cultural, social and political landscape of Asia. He is known for his series of photographs which capture the fears, frustrations and worries which have arisen since the Cultural Revolution in China, and also for his iconic series of paintings of figures blended into various city backgrounds, including Beijing, Paris and New York. Focusing primarily on identity, human rights, state control and the relationship between humans and their milieus, Liu has become one of the most relevant and prominent contemporary artists working today.

Similarly, Ye Hongxing claims that her work is produced in response to the “swift change of China’s social system”. Born in China’s Guangxi province in 1972, Ye creates kaleidoscopic mosaics made of colourful stickers, incorporating pop culture references, religious imagery, imaginative landscapes, and nature. The juxtaposition of kitschy, mass produced stickers with such imagery reflects the fusion of Western culture, modern technology and secularism into traditional Chinese culture. With her innovative and dazzling visual work, Ye has become part of an exciting new wave of Chinese contemporary artists reacting to the rapid modernisation of China.

The dialogue between East and West is further explored by artist Chien-Yang Wang, who was born in Taiwan in 1981. Selected as a finalist in the International Photography Awards in New York, Wang’s work is carefully staged and composed. Her photographs often incorporate themes of the figure together with whimsical elements and numerous references to Western and Asian mass culture. Her resulting works blur the lines between the real and the fantastical, creating a vibrant pop aesthetic that vividly comments on the relationship between East and West.

Having since located to Fitzrovia’s Eastcastle Street in 2012, Scream Art Gallery has since become a key destination in this contemporary arts hub and established its presence as a vital part of the London and international art scene. Although coming from diverse backgrounds and artistic practices, the artists at Scream are connected through their strong emphasis on process, and their universal language of signs and symbols. Issues commonly highlighted in these artists’ works are those pertaining to globalisation and modernisation, such as pollution, mass consumerism, technological and industrial developments at the expense of culture and tradition – concepts which link all communities of the world.

by Louise Lui

Scream Art Gallery will present at Art 14 London from 28 February until 4 March 2014

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