December 5, 2023

Jo Mai Asian Culture

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Summoning Memories: Art Beyond Chinese Traditions

3 min read
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HOUSTON, February 3, 2023 — Asia Society Texas (AST) announces the opening of the powerful new contemporary art exhibition, Summoning Memories: Art Beyond Chinese Traditions, featuring the work of 32 artists of Chinese descent. Curated exclusively for Asia Society Texas, this exhibition showcases an exhilarating mix of well-known and emerging artists, and creates a dynamic intergenerational dialogue steeped in memory and diverse perspectives. Summoning Memories will be on view from Friday, February 10, through Sunday, July 2. Admission is free for members, $5 for students and seniors with I.D., and $8 for nonmembers.

Summoning Memories: Art Beyond Chinese Traditions highlights stunning works by contemporary artists who reinterpret traditions in dynamic and innovative ways. Across painting, sculpture, and photography, these works by established and emerging artists of different generations use experimentation to draw on both Eastern and Western art-making practices and materials. According to guest curator Dr. Susan L. Beningson, “In Summoning Memories: Art Beyond Chinese Traditions, artists move ‘beyond the brush’ to create a dialogue — not only with different artistic, social, historical, and literary traditions, but also between some of the most important living artists of Chinese descent and the next generation of emerging talent.”

In addition to new works created specifically for this exhibition by Zhang Jian-Jun and Yang Yongliang, a few of the exciting pieces on view are:

  • Xu Bing‘s famous handscroll How to Do Square Word Calligraphy as well as his Song of Wandering Aengus by William Butler Yeats, both of which demonstrate his system for organizing English words into structures that resemble Chinese characters.
  • Kelly Wang‘s Entanglement in which she weaves newspapers — collected outside her father’s apartment while he was in the hospital fighting COVID-19 — into a scholar’s rock.
  • Yun-fei Ji’s original hand scroll of the Three Gorges Dam Migration. Painted in a classical Chinese landscape style, this piece depicts the problematic migration and destruction forced by the creation of the dam.

“Yun-Fei Ji’s epic Three Gorges Dam Migration handscroll is a 21st-century masterpiece. It’s an honor to display this ten-foot saga about migration and loss, and we are honored to highlight the original, rarely exhibited painting,” states Owen Duffy, Nancy C. Allen Curator and Director of Exhibitions at AST.

The artists featured in this show push boundaries, manipulating traditional materials, and developing unique fabrication processes that result in experimental ink painting, calligraphy, and deconstructed language, on both real and imaginary landscapes, cityscapes, and celestial patterns. While landscapes borrow from time-honored imagery, the artists in this exhibition subvert their visual language and meaning, responding to our present-day concerns about urbanization, the fragmentation of landscapes created by the degradation of the environment, and the rapid pace of China’s modernization, among other urgent issues. Ultimately, these artists summon memories of the past to move beyond its specter, forging new artistic ground on which to build.

Fast Facts

  • Dates: Friday, February 10, 2023 – Sunday, July 2, 2023
  • Admission: Free for members, $5 for students and seniors with I.D., and $8 for nonmembers
  • Hours: Wednesday–Friday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Saturday–Sunday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

About Asia Society Texas

Asia Society Texas believes in the strength and beauty of diverse perspectives and people. As an educational institution, we advance cultural exchange by celebrating the vibrant diversity of Asia, inspiring empathy, and fostering a better understanding of our interconnected world. Spanning the fields of arts, business, culture, education, and policy, our programming is rooted in the educational and cultural development of our community — trusting in the power of art, dialogue, and ideas to combat bias and build a more inclusive society.


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