Changing Landscapes: Contemporary Chinese Fiber Art
October 23, 2009 through March 14, 2010
The American Textile History Museum presents the first exhibition of contemporary Chinese fiber art ever to travel to the United States. Organized by the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, this exhibit celebrates virtuosity of technique and profound cultural and artistic expression.
Changing Landscapes was co-curated by Ni Yue-Hong, a professor at the Fiber Arts Institute of Tsinghua University in Beijin, and Deborah Corsini, curator of the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles. The artworks shown have been drawn from the past five Lausanne to Beijing International Fiber Art Biennale exhibitions. This selection offers two-dimensional tapestries as well as sculptural work by emerging, mid-career, and master artists who study or teach at institutions of higher education throughout China. All together, the work is a snapshot of how three generations of artists working in fiber media are documenting, navigating, and responding to the tremendous economic, political, and social changes that have transformed the Chinese landscape over the past decade. The featured artists also delve into our collective human experience, commenting upon such universal themes as nature, our relation to the past, the meaning of home, and the power of artistic expression.
The Lausanne to Beijing International Fiber Art Biennales began in 2000 as a continuation of the work of the Lausanne Biennale exhibitions held from 1962 to 1992 in Switzerland. Professor Lin Lecheng of Tsinghua University, himself an exhibitor at Lausanne, led the effort to develop this prestigious international exhibition in China. In each year since the biennale began, the exhibition has grown and includes artworks gathered from artists in more and more countries around the world.
In developing Changing Landscapes, the tapestry Floating House by co-curator Professor Ni Yue-Hong was identified as an extremely important award-winning work that serves as the signature piece for the exhibition. According to Jane Przybysz, Executive Director of the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, and Corsini, Floating House “masterfully depicts an architectural structure in monochromatic tones precariously tilted—as if literally at sea under a night sky—in an ocean of shifting saturated colors. . . . It successfully captured the sense of uncertainty that—not just foreigners living in China—but many Chinese people and particularly Chinese artists had experienced in the aftermath of the Cultural Revolution, during which time tradition was deemed anti-revolutionary and much historical art was destroyed.”