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Shi Liang "Another Still Life"

Shi Liang

Another Still Life

curated by Giovanni Iovane

conceived by Xiuzhong Zhang

Sala delle Esposizioni dell’ Accademia delle Arti del Disegno, Firenze

Exhibition Hall of the Academy of Arts and Drawing, Florence

12 – 29 September 2019

On Thursday 12 September 2019, the exhibition of Chinese artist Shi Liang Another Still Life opened in the Sala delle Esposizioni at the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno in Florence. Conceived by Xiuzhong Zhang and curated by Giovanni Iovane, director of the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera, Milan, it was promoted and organised by the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno and Zhong Art International. The exhibition was held under the patronage of: Tuscany Region, Florence Municipality, Metropolitan City and Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in Florence and it also benefited from the collaboration of the Romualdo Del Bianco Foundation and Life Beyond Tourism, Confindustria Florence, Eurasia Association and the Confucius Institute of the University of Florence.

Shi Liang, born in 1963 in Jinan, China, lives and works in Beijing, where he studied Painting at the Central Academy of Fine Arts. He is considered one of the leading exponents of Chinese figurative painting, although over the years he has also turned his attention to sculpture, installation and video art. Deputy Director General of the Beijing Academy - Contemporary Art Department, Shi Liang has exhibited in the most important Chinese museums and he held his first Italian exhibition in Matera, in the Rupestrian Church of Sant'Antonio Abate, during the summer of 2018, together with the artist Ma Lin.

The exhibition Another Still Life features 26 works by Liang. Still life, which inspired the title of the exhibition, only became a genre to itself in the history of western art in the 17th century, although it had been existing earlier; as the curator Giovanni Iovane writes in his exhibition presentation, not only it asserts itself as a genre, but also "as an autonomous space in which the artist experiments and reflects on the meaning of art" . And Shi Liang's experiments and reflections are extremely interesting. His is a fierce realism, he offers still images of scenes of everyday life, removing them from the flow of time, and in the immobility of his paintings, his pictorial mastery emerges powerfully and at the same time something perturbing. His technique, so deeply linked to the practice of Still Life, is also extended in the exhibition to installations, sculptures and videos.

References to western art are continuous: the Underworld series reintroduces all the 17th century symbolic elements of the vanitas, constantly suggesting the transience of life and the ephemeral condition of existence, while in the Vitruvian Man of 500 Years the homage to the anniversary of Leonardo's death is clear or to “Giorgio Morandi’s still lives in the series Abstraction and Realism presented as meta-narratives, this time linked to the great images of the History of Art that again are re-animated here", as Iovane also writes.

In large-scale installations, crystallized time taken from the Still Life genre, has a dual function: on one side, it deprives stories of their normal flow, while on the other it restores fragmentarily, through the work itself, the wider time of History. This is what occurs in Suspended Case, a 3 x 9 metre work made up of antique benches hanging on the wall, specially conceived for the central hall of the exhibition area in the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno, or in the books and parchments appearing as testimony of a past time and at the same time as revenants bringing writing back to the present time.

Finally, in the series of "perforated" portraits closing the exhibition, disquietude is once again mixed with the fierce realism which is Shi Liang's style signature.

Shi Liang. Another Still Life

curated by Giovanni Iovane

conceived by di Xiuzhong Zhang

Florence, Exhibition Hall at Accademia delle Arti del Disegno

Entrance: via Ricasoli 68

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Sunday 10:00 a.m. / 1:00 p.m. Closed on Monday.

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