â€œZhÃ¹yi!â€ literally translates to â€œwatch out,â€ and the double entendre means watch out for this new generation of Chinese artists and watch out for the issues they portray.
The Museum of Contemporary Art in Spain is presenting â€œZhÃ¹yi! Contemporary Chinese Photography,â€ featuring the work of 30 young photographers born after 1960 concerned about such diverse issues as cultural memory, individual and collective identity, environmental degradation under the weight of economic development, fashion and consumerism in today Chinese society.
Their photographs, taken since 1994 to the present, depict the difficulties of transformation from strict communism to a more open society. China during this time underwent a major transition in its social and economic structures.
In the works of Miao Xiaochun, for instance, the Great Wall of China and the Chinese scholar, with his traditional costumes and headdresses, stand out as cultural symbols of the past. Hong Leiâ€™s images allude to the tyranny of the emperor over his concubines in the Forbidden City. Shao Yinong and Muchen show abandoned warehouses and stables where noisy assemblies took place during the Cultural Revolution.
â€œZhÃ¹yi! Contemporary Photography in China,â€ which runs from March 15 to September 23, is a joint production of Artium and the Palau de la Virreina of Barcelona.