press release

The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) announces a major exhibition of contemporary Chinese art, on view at the museum from September 10, 2008, through January 4, 2009. Mahjong: Contemporary Chinese Art from the Sigg Collection is drawn from the collection of Uli Sigg, a Swiss collector whose long and close ties to China have enabled him to build a collection that is unrivaled in quality, scope, and size. The exhibition will feature a selection of 141 works by 96 artists, including exceptional paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs, video works, and installations spanning four decades.

The BAM/PFA showing of Mahjong represents the first time that a significant number of works from the Sigg Collection have been seen in the Americas. (A version of the exhibition has been seen in Berne, Switzerland; Hamburg, Germany; and Salzburg, Austria.) The exhibition is coordinated at BAM/PFA by Julia M. White, senior curator of Asian art, and is co-curated by Ms. White and Lucinda Barnes, chief curator and director of programs and collections.

Mahjong: Contemporary Chinese Art from the Sigg Collection, which occupies nine of the museum's ten galleries, surveys the development of contemporary art in China from the 1970s to the present day, illuminating the political, social, and cultural forces that have shaped it. Beginning with Socialist Realism, the exhibition moves on to illustrate the avant-garde movements of the 1980s and early 1990s, and also includes works by a generation of artists who have emerged following China's social and political reforms of the past decade. The work addresses such issues as Mao, the Cultural Revolution, consumerism, disparities between the cities and the countryside, and the tensions between the individual and society, among others.

All of the major developments in contemporary Chinese art are represented in the exhibition by pivotal works, some of which are now well known in the West. Featured artists include Liu Wei, Huang Yan, Ai Weiwei, Weng Fen, Yue Min Jun, Zhang Xiaogang, Xu Bing, and Zhang Huan, as well as a number of artists still largely unknown outside of China. As a whole, the exhibition provides audiences with an unparalleled opportunity to view China as a closed society in the 1970s and early 1980s, and to observe the changes in cultural expression that have occurred as Chinese society has become increasingly open.

Public Programs Mahjong: Contemporary Chinese Art from the Sigg Collection includes a series of public programs and activities on the University of California, Berkeley, campus. The programs include public conversations, gallery talks, and a symposium that feature leading artists, curators, and scholars discussing a range of issues pertaining to contemporary China and its art. Additionally, BAM/PFA will host three discrete Chinese film series and have two artists-in-residence: leading artist Ai Weiwei and filmmaker Ning Ying.

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Contemporary Chinese Art from the Sigg Collection

Künstler: Liu Wei, Zhang Huan, Wang Guangyi, Ai Weiwei, Cao Fei, Fang Lijun, Geng JianYi, Wenda Gu, Huang Rui, Huang Yan, Huang Yong Ping, Jia Zhang Ke, Ou Ning, Song Tao, Guangyi Wang, Wang Jinsong, Weng Fen, Xu Bing, Yue Minjun, Zhang Peili, Zhang Xiaogang ...