It is universally known that art is a modern concept, which did not exist until Renaissance when “art” was finally distinguished from mere “craftsmanship”. Radical changes in the concept of “art is beauty” took place during the process of modernization between the 19th and 20th century. In the 21st century, art, an embodiment of modern spirit and language, is a medium for artists to reflect their own cultural contexts, and to demonstrate their meditation on modernity as well as its influence on modern people’s psychology.
Selecting artworks of representative artists from China, Japan and South Korea, this exhibition shall offer the visitors a splendid presentation of Asian contemporary art. Nurtured by ancient Chinese cultural legacy, the three Asian countries have long been intimately connected. However, this cultural homogeneity was shaken in the age of modernity which was dominated by the expansion of western civilization, along with the tremendous impact of Western contemporary art. The consequence is, as it presents itself in recent times, traditional eastern art is mingled with western art concepts. As a result, the contemporary art of Asian countries diversifies into distinct styles that are closely related to the social realities of their own countries.
From focusing on social reality and the living situations of people, discovering individual cultural identity, through criticizing and reconstructing western art, to tracing back to eastern traditions, Chinese contemporary art plays a significant role in constructing contemporary culture. As for Japanese art which used to sweep European art world with “Japonisme” in the 20th century, it establishes its own aesthetics by keeping interpreting traditions in innovative ways. South Korea exposed itself to western art a bit later than its Asian neighbors, but the rapidity of its development should never be underestimated. South Korean artists take a positive attitude in face of challenges of modernity and traditions. They seek for inspiration from their unique background and life experience, and successfully introduce to the world the distinctive Korean art.