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Short trip to China.

Do not miss a recent exhibit at the Museo Tamayo, Felicidad Indecible (Unspeakable Happiness). If interested in art, economics, Asia or the human condition, you will respond to the work of 17 Chinese artists who use a variety of mediums to portray China's rapid growth. The artists react to the economic expansion occurring in China and its impact on culture, namely a more Western trend focusing on consumerism, commercialism, the media and global capitalism.

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While sharing a common theme, the artists use intriguing media to express themselves through diversity in texture, form and message, mirroring the big and small changes wrought by exuberant economic expansion and capitalism on the everyday life of Chinese citizens.

Photography plays a large role in Felicidad Indecible. Portraying the psychological distance between people in China's contemporary society in "Urban Fiction," photographer Xing Danwen inserts herself in a vast and empty new building against an urban backdrop, dwarfed and alone, thus conveying her desperate isolation living in modern China.

By contrast, Yu Hong depicts China's growing professional class, its effect on traditional family roles and the retreat from community. In "She: A Retired Worker," a grandmother baby-sits her grandchild at night since her parents have to work, a recent phenomenon. Two mediums comprise Hong's piece, oil painting and photography, symbolizing how we view ourselves (painting) versus how the world sees us (photography).

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"On the Wall" by Weng Peijun contrasts "old" China to new China, a more industrial and urban country. In each segment of Peijun's work, a girl who represents the generations witnessing China's growth is photographed straddling a wall. The wall, a "transitional zone," separates a bustling city from a grassy rural area. The girl leaves her belongings on the rural side, China's past, while facing the urban side, China's future. Peijun describes China's future as containing "dreams and expectations" but also "confusion and insecurity." The city the girl gazes at is both "dazzling and menacing."

Photography and canvas are common in Felicidad Indecible but video is important too. Liang Yue in "The Light of the Sky" films a young woman wearing a white blouse and skirt staring at the sky from day until dawn in different areas of Shanghai. She stands still and angelic in the midst of bustling traffic. Cars, bikes and pedestrians, the chaos of contemporary China, ignore her. Yue's protagonist is a fixed and peaceful object within a metropolis too busy to notice her.

If you prefer the abstract, Chu Yen focuses on daily products people use and discard, man's appetite to consume in urban life. Yen's "Who Stole Our Bodies," captivates when he places thirty bars of soap against a black backdrop, with none equal in shape, so they illustrate the "varying states of disappearance through their use and interaction with the body."

Even if you are not a fan of Chinese modern art, the Museo Tamayo is a serene place to spend a weekend afternoon. The museum nestled in the trees of Chapultepec Park (Reforma and Ghandi streets) also showcases Rufino Tamayo's work and various contemporary international exhibits (1950s--present day). The building itself, built in 1979 by Mexican architects Teodora Gonzalez de Leon and Abraham Zabludovsky, won the National Architecture Prize so is worth exploring.

Felicidad Indecible: Una seleccion de arte contemporaneo de China, Museo Tamayo

Reforma and Gandhi, Bosque de Chapultepec, Mexico City

Tel: (+5255) 5286-6519/ 29, Fax: (+5255) 5286-6539

Exhibit closes October 9, 2005 Museum hours: 10am-6pm Tuesday to Sunday

info@museotamayo.org, http://www.museotamayo.org
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Title Annotation:ART WATCH
Author:Gleason, Megan MacKenzie
Publication:Business Mexico
Geographic Code:1MEX
Date:Sep 1, 2005
Words:590
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