Xue Song is a young talented painter in Shanghai.

Xue Song Film

Xue Song is a young talented painter in Shanghai. His work integrate everyday’s life accident, and looks, with some derision, at the East-West relationships.

From 18th May to 14th July,2019, Long Museum (West Bund) will launch a large-scale solo exhibition “Phoenix Art from the Ashes” by artist Xue Song. The exhibition is curated by Jeffrey Spalding, presenting Xue Song’s artistic creation spanning more than 30 years. The exhibited works include Xue Song’s early collaged inscriptions as well as works that continue developing and reshaping. Among them are: “Dialogue with masters series”, “History and reality series”, “City and youth series “, “Traditional landscape series”, “Foam Series” etc.

Responding to the magnificent, grand spaces of the vast main exhibition hall of Long Museum (West Bund), this exhibition will present the latest work of Xue Song, “Gene genealogy”. This large-scale creation consists of 100 small works, each of them is a Chinese surname, which together spell out a map of China. From his earliest art student days, he has been enamoured by the form of written text. In the western world ‘penmanship’ is a topic of the long-forgotten past, typewriters, computers and now voice messaging translators have all but eradicated the handiwork of handwriting. Xue Song holds on. He loves the formal appearance of hand-written text in all its forms: ancient and current. It is the leitmotif to his art.

Xue Song collects historical and cultural images printed in books, publications, newspapers, etc. These resources are torn, burned then collaged to assemble intricate mosaic-like works that offer a staggering number of diverse themes, richly reflecting regional characteristics. It is a continuation of his career-long fascination and commitment to further development. The exhibition will showcase a group of “Shanghai Postcards” ( 8 spells ). Xue Song has lived and worked in Shanghai for more than 30 years; his work expresses deep affection for the city. Through this group of works, the audience will see a vivid and rich “Shanghai style map” of the era and historical culture.

Xue Song’s art is a kind of rebirth, he attempts to re-make art from its abandoned ruins to form something new, fresh, individual and deeply personal. His art offers an emblem of a contrived ritualistic scorched earth policy. The studio fires in early 90s consumed some of the works of Xue Song. These initial fires and ongoing ritual cleansings and burnings of art history texts have created raw material, when mixed with painting medium to produce the black lines that outline his work.

Xue Song is knowledgeable and appreciative of the centuries-old distinguished painters and calligraphers of China and Asia. He was among the first wave of Chinese artists to embrace the complex weave of 19th and 20th Century western modernism. The work of Xue Song ransacks art history, shamelessly quoting, appropriating and overpainting images from a glorious legacy. He proffers the re-birth of art and himself by admixing western and Asian art history into a palpable paste.

About the artist

Xue Song is a contemporary artist renowned for his role as a principal contributor to Chinese “cultural pop” and an important representative of “New Shanghai School Art”. He was born in 1965 in Dangshan, Anhui Province. Graduated from the Department of Dance, Shanghai Academy of Drama. He lives in Shanghai.

In 1990, a fire destroyed all the original artworks in his studio. This traumatic episode opened a door to new art. From destruction to rebirth, like a reincarnation and cleansing. Thereafter, the artist elected to set to flames and char published pictures and texts. Through this process, he deconstructed, reconstructed and organized them on the canvas. The collision of this wide array of disparate and diverse imagery acts as an agent of regeneration. The idiosyncratic pairing of source image fragments releases each from their original contextual meaning. It gives rise to a new understanding, linking the East and the West, historical memory and the current reality, traditional culture and modern views, which is the foundation of the unique art of Xue Song.

Xue Song’s works are collected by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, University of Southern California Asia Pacific Museum, Bonn Museum of Modern Art, China Art Museum, Shanghai Art Museum, Long Museum, Hong Kong M+ Art Museum, Bill Gates Art Foundation and other institutions.

About the curator

Professor Jeffrey Spalding is a curator, educator, museum expert, author and artist He is currently a member of the board of the International Association of Art Critics (Canada). He has served in roles as director as well as chief curator at many art museums. Among them as director of the Appleton Museum of Art at Florida State University in the United States and concurrently was professor (1999-2002). He was awarded the rank of professor and director of the Art Gallery at the University of Lethbridge, Canada. During his tenure, Professor Spalding attracted donations and major purchases to amass a major art collection, which grew from 212 art works in 1982 to 15,000 by1999. Recently, he was Chief Curator at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Canada (2015-2017). Currently he serves as Senior Lifetime Artist for the Tao Hua Tan Creative Cultural Company in Anhui.

Professor Spalding has organized more than a hundred exhibitions and catalogue essays for art galleries and museums, among them for Russia’s prestigious Hermitage; the Tate Gallery in the United Kingdom; Expo ’93, Korea; Phoenix Art Museum, USA; Art week/ Art Walk Festivals, Calgary, Canada. He has been a perennial contributor since 2000 to the Toronto International Art Fair and curated exhibitions such as “Matisse and the Inuit Face”. He has organized many exhibitions concerning pop art including two catalogues: “ABC’s of Pop art: America, Britain, Canada, major artists and their legacy”; “Soup to Nuts: Pop Art and its Legacy”.

Professor Spalding was named a member of the Order of Canada in 2007 and was awarded the Diamond Jubilee Medal of Queen Elizabeth II in 2012 for his outstanding contributions in the field of art.

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