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Chen Zanxi’s Sugarcoated Bullet series combines Chinese and foreign icons to create a satirical commentary on the state of revolutionary ideals and traditional values in modern Chinese society. In Liberty, Chen has placed a pair of leaping dancers in the foreground. Just behind these figures stands the Statue of Liberty, and above are the streaking silhouettes of six F-16s.

The dancers are from the famous revolutionary ballet Red Detachment of Women, which was one of the “eight model plays” permitted in China during the Cultural Revolution. Set in the 1930’s Hainan, the ballet recounts the exploits of a detachment of revolutionary women who free prisoners and slave women from an evil landlord, while helping the Red Army to defeat the enemy forces. Notably, this play was performed for Richard Nixon during his historic 1972 visit to Beijing.

Although these characters each individually convey a sense of heroism and ardor, when jointly placed on a flattened plane they become static and artificial. This sense of one-dimensionality is further heightened by the painting’s simplistic geometric repetition; the entire composition is essentially a mirror image of itself, and the dancers’ X-shaped positioning creates a series of triangular forms that is reiterated throughout the painting. These genial, interlocking dancers bring to mind the symmetrical symbols of Gucci or Chanel. The juxtaposition of these images neutralizes any contradictions between these icons’ patriotic or ideological associations.

In Sugarcoated Bullet: Liberty the revolutionary women frolic with Lady Liberty, oblivious to the detachment of foreign fighter jets arriving overhead.

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  • Sugar Coated Bullet: Liberty (2)
  • Chen Zanxi (b. 1982) was born in Panzhihua, Sichuan Province, completing his undergraduate education at the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in 2005, and post-graduate study at the same institute in 2008. His work juxtaposes the icons of socialist and capitalist culture, such as the Sugar-Coated Bullet series, in which proletariats march past Colonel Sanders in the place of Mao Zedong, or Marilyn Monroe and a pistol-bearing female soldier act out a scene from “The Red Detachment of Women.” Although young, Chen Zanxi is already concerned issues of China's past, exploring how it informs an anomalous present. Recent works have drawn from more operatic sources, emphasizing the theatricality of history, such as paintings based on revolutionary operas with its characters posed in a press release-ready tableau of emotion and drive. In his works derived from China's red past, Chen Zanxi wonders if the present has become “an embarrassing pink,” its revolutionary zeal diluted by the changes of the last few decades.

    Click on the artist's name for more information
    CHEN Zanxi 陈赞西
$35.00
Chen Zanxi’s Sugarcoated Bullet series combines Chinese and foreign icons to create a satirical commentary on the state of revolutionary ideals and traditional values in modern Chinese society. In Sugarcoated Bullet: Limit Up, Chen depicts five revolutionary guerillas from a the 1960’s era revolutionary opera, Azalea Hill. In the original opera, set in 1928 near the border between Jiangxi and Hunan, the forces of the enemy landlord attempt to lure the guerillas into an ambush. In this scene Ke Xiang, the female hero, explains the landlord’s devious plot while pointing out the positions of enemy forces on a battlefield map. In Chen Zanxi’s painting, however, the revolutionaries are gathered around a computer monitor, and in the background is a 90-day chart of daily trading ranges and volumes. Ke Xiang is pointing to the surging stock market.

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  • Sugar Coated Bullet: Limit Up
  • Chen Zanxi (b. 1982) was born in Panzhihua, Sichuan Province, completing his undergraduate education at the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in 2005, and post-graduate study at the same institute in 2008. His work juxtaposes the icons of socialist and capitalist culture, such as the Sugar-Coated Bullet series, in which proletariats march past Colonel Sanders in the place of Mao Zedong, or Marilyn Monroe and a pistol-bearing female soldier act out a scene from “The Red Detachment of Women.” Although young, Chen Zanxi is already concerned issues of China's past, exploring how it informs an anomalous present. Recent works have drawn from more operatic sources, emphasizing the theatricality of history, such as paintings based on revolutionary operas with its characters posed in a press release-ready tableau of emotion and drive. In his works derived from China's red past, Chen Zanxi wonders if the present has become “an embarrassing pink,” its revolutionary zeal diluted by the changes of the last few decades.

    Click on the artist's name for more information
    CHEN Zanxi 陈赞西
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Huang Yuncan’s series New Youth, looks at the transience of youth and the delicate memories it creates. Huang mimics the haziness of recollection with floating spots that coalesce into figures and interactions.

Two women with puckered lips approach one another with awkwardly bent knees and wrists. Their affected air kissing belies a system of social interaction borrowed from elsewhere—are these kisses of greeting, parting, or have they taken on a completely new meaning? In contrast with their parents generation, these members of China’s urban youth sport the latest fashions, Chuck Taylors and sunglasses. With the exception of the women’s flushed faces, the only other items that receive special notice are the purple gloves and red coat, bringing focus to material possessions. Within the mind’s unreliable archives, a superficial detail can come to define a moment.

This moment seems contemporary, but Huang presents it as a memory, begging the question of what the future holds for this generation and its hybrid culture, and more importantly, what it will be remembered for.

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  • Red Clothes and Purple Gloves
  • Huang Yuncan (b. 1982) graduated from the oil painting department at the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in 2005, and continued her graduate studies until 2008. She has participated in group exhibitions in many of China’s major cities, including Hangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong.

    The series New Youth depicts an experience of youth that is unprecedented China, and is a result of the country’s new material wealth. She portrays her subjects looking carefree and trendy, but at the same time self-conscious – capturing the awkwardness and uncertainty that accompanies the transition from adolescence to adulthood.

    Her characters exist in neutral fields without context. This could suggest the uncertainty of youth, or possibly the lack of fixed references in China’s rapidly changing conditions.

    Huang’s images are presented as animated but imprecise recollections with floating spots that coalesce into figures and interactions. The tenuous bonds between the spots threaten to dissipate at any moment, imitating the brevity of youth and the fragility of the mind’s eye.

    Click on the artist's name for more information
    HUANG Yuncan 黄云璨
$35.00
Chen Zanxi’s Sugarcoated Bullet series combines Chinese and foreign icons to create a satirical commentary on the state of revolutionary ideals and traditional values in modern Chinese society. The title of Sugarcoated Bullet: Elegant Pursuits comes from the classical phrase “风流韵事” which refers to the refined pursuits of a cultured person such as poetry, chess, calligraphy and music. The phrase, however, has also become a euphemism for an illicit romantic affair. On the left is Yang Zirong, the iconic soldier-hero from the revolutionary opera Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy. On the right, Yuji, the loyal concubine from the traditional Beijing opera Farewell my Concubine, is performing a sword-dance before committing suicide next to her defeated king. Behind them is a traditional Chinese paper cutout with the symbol for “double happiness,” which is often associated with wedding celebrations. Between these role models from revolutionary and traditional Beijing Opera, the artist has superimposed the licentious Kate from Cole Porter’s musical Kiss me Kate; here shown here playing the role of Katherine in Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. The color red, highlighted in the Yang Zirong’s Red Army insignia and the traditional “Double Happiness” pattern is also highlighted on the lips and clothing of Kate and Yuji.

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  • Sugar Coated Bullet: Elegant Pursuits
  • Chen Zanxi (b. 1982) was born in Panzhihua, Sichuan Province, completing his undergraduate education at the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in 2005, and post-graduate study at the same institute in 2008. His work juxtaposes the icons of socialist and capitalist culture, such as the Sugar-Coated Bullet series, in which proletariats march past Colonel Sanders in the place of Mao Zedong, or Marilyn Monroe and a pistol-bearing female soldier act out a scene from “The Red Detachment of Women.” Although young, Chen Zanxi is already concerned issues of China's past, exploring how it informs an anomalous present. Recent works have drawn from more operatic sources, emphasizing the theatricality of history, such as paintings based on revolutionary operas with its characters posed in a press release-ready tableau of emotion and drive. In his works derived from China's red past, Chen Zanxi wonders if the present has become “an embarrassing pink,” its revolutionary zeal diluted by the changes of the last few decades.

    Click on the artist's name for more information
    CHEN Zanxi 陈赞西
$35.00
Chen Zanxi’s Sugarcoated Bullet series combines Chinese and foreign icons to create a satirical commentary on the state of revolutionary ideals and traditional values in modern Chinese society.

The title Red Star over China refers to Edgar Snow’s 1937 account of the Chinese Communist Party, based on his months spent with the Red Army, as well as extensive interviews with Mao and other leaders. The book provided a sympathetic account of the movement and was translated to Chinese in 1938. It has been published numerous times both in English and in Chinese, and has been widely read in China ever since it was published.

This painting features three longshoremen from the modern Beijing Opera On the Docks, which was one of the eight approved plays during the Cultural Revolution. In this story, a team of patriotic dockworkers heroically hurries to load a ship with sacks of rice-seed for an aid mission to Africa before the arrival of an impending monsoon.

In Sugarcoated Bullet: Red Star over China, the longshoreman are no longer lifting sacks of provisions for their starving comrades, but instead triumphantly hoisting a voluptuous Western woman. Specifically, the woman is from the baroque painting The Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus by Peter Paul Rubens. This painting depicts a scene from Ovid’s Metamorphosis where the brothers Castor and Pollux abduct their cousins’ fiancés.

The garments of the longshoremen and the woman are a deep shade of red, but the towering five-pointed star in the background has faded to a less-than-revolutionary shade of pink.

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  • Sugar Coated Bullet: Red Star Over China
  • Chen Zanxi (b. 1982) was born in Panzhihua, Sichuan Province, completing his undergraduate education at the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in 2005, and post-graduate study at the same institute in 2008. His work juxtaposes the icons of socialist and capitalist culture, such as the Sugar-Coated Bullet series, in which proletariats march past Colonel Sanders in the place of Mao Zedong, or Marilyn Monroe and a pistol-bearing female soldier act out a scene from “The Red Detachment of Women.” Although young, Chen Zanxi is already concerned issues of China's past, exploring how it informs an anomalous present. Recent works have drawn from more operatic sources, emphasizing the theatricality of history, such as paintings based on revolutionary operas with its characters posed in a press release-ready tableau of emotion and drive. In his works derived from China's red past, Chen Zanxi wonders if the present has become “an embarrassing pink,” its revolutionary zeal diluted by the changes of the last few decades.

    Click on the artist's name for more information
    CHEN Zanxi 陈赞西
$35.00
The features of the cheekily smiling girl can barely be seen beneath a veil of heavy black spots. The difficulty in latching on to any one detail mimics the complexity of memory and how it can be clearest when “viewed” peripherally, rather than straight on. The girl has her legs drawn up underneath her, as though she were perched on a seat, but the lack of context makes her appear as a floating apparition. Her fingers brush the bottom of her smiling mouth, as though wiping away dripped ice cream. She relishes her frozen dessert, but seems to enjoy the viewer’s attention even more.

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  • Ice Cream
  • Huang Yuncan (b. 1982) graduated from the oil painting department at the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in 2005, and continued her graduate studies until 2008. She has participated in group exhibitions in many of China’s major cities, including Hangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong.

    The series New Youth depicts an experience of youth that is unprecedented China, and is a result of the country’s new material wealth. She portrays her subjects looking carefree and trendy, but at the same time self-conscious – capturing the awkwardness and uncertainty that accompanies the transition from adolescence to adulthood.

    Her characters exist in neutral fields without context. This could suggest the uncertainty of youth, or possibly the lack of fixed references in China’s rapidly changing conditions.

    Huang’s images are presented as animated but imprecise recollections with floating spots that coalesce into figures and interactions. The tenuous bonds between the spots threaten to dissipate at any moment, imitating the brevity of youth and the fragility of the mind’s eye.

    Click on the artist's name for more information
    HUANG Yuncan 黄云璨
$35.00
Huang mimics the haziness of recollection with floating spots that coalesce into figures and interactions. Sister is somewhat ambiguous; what at first appears to be a tender moment is steeped in a sense of dread. The figures are rigid in their embrace, and a closer look at their faces reveals expressions of uncertainty. Is this an embrace of affection or solace?

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  • Sister
  • Huang Yuncan (b. 1982) graduated from the oil painting department at the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in 2005, and continued her graduate studies until 2008. She has participated in group exhibitions in many of China’s major cities, including Hangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong.

    The series New Youth depicts an experience of youth that is unprecedented China, and is a result of the country’s new material wealth. She portrays her subjects looking carefree and trendy, but at the same time self-conscious – capturing the awkwardness and uncertainty that accompanies the transition from adolescence to adulthood.

    Her characters exist in neutral fields without context. This could suggest the uncertainty of youth, or possibly the lack of fixed references in China’s rapidly changing conditions.

    Huang’s images are presented as animated but imprecise recollections with floating spots that coalesce into figures and interactions. The tenuous bonds between the spots threaten to dissipate at any moment, imitating the brevity of youth and the fragility of the mind’s eye.

    Click on the artist's name for more information
    HUANG Yuncan 黄云璨
$35.00
In New Youth Huang invokes nostalgia through memory’s imprecise sketching, and by creating the appearance of a photograph in which the subjects are striking playful, self-conscious poses.

The three girls are grouped together in a single frame, but stand as detached individuals. Their trendy appearance suggests prosperity unknown to previous generations, but offers no insight into what substance lies beneath their youthful fashions. Huang presents her new youth with no visual context, conveying a sense of disconnection.

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  • New Youth
  • Huang Yuncan (b. 1982) graduated from the oil painting department at the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in 2005, and continued her graduate studies until 2008. She has participated in group exhibitions in many of China’s major cities, including Hangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong.

    The series New Youth depicts an experience of youth that is unprecedented China, and is a result of the country’s new material wealth. She portrays her subjects looking carefree and trendy, but at the same time self-conscious – capturing the awkwardness and uncertainty that accompanies the transition from adolescence to adulthood.

    Her characters exist in neutral fields without context. This could suggest the uncertainty of youth, or possibly the lack of fixed references in China’s rapidly changing conditions.

    Huang’s images are presented as animated but imprecise recollections with floating spots that coalesce into figures and interactions. The tenuous bonds between the spots threaten to dissipate at any moment, imitating the brevity of youth and the fragility of the mind’s eye.

    Click on the artist's name for more information
    HUANG Yuncan 黄云璨
$35.00

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