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Art: Luck of the draw

By Zhang Kun (China Daily)

10:46, March 05, 2013

Xiaolonghua built a post-apocalypse world occupied by Wall-E-like figures and animals, which are made of junk he picked up. (China Daily)

Seven young artists are taking their chance at art. Their rich expressions are now on display in Shanghai but whether they will strike it big, is a gamble. Zhang Kun reports.

Selling your art work is like winning lottery. You should not count on it but keep trying anyway, says Gao Mingyan, a 30-year-old artist from Shanghai, describing the dynamics between artists and the market.

He and six other artists are featured at Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA) Shanghai, in +Follow 2013 - Existence, Young Artists Group Exhibition.

Curator of the exhibition, Wang Weiwei, has given each artist a separate space, so that each individual can present his own world. Gong Mingguang, director of the museum, says the show aims to attract more attention on China's younger generation of artists.

All the seven artists are of similar age, from their late 20s to early 30s. "They seem to enjoy greater freedom in the creative expression," Wang says.

"They have broader choice of subjects and methods, face less pressure, and naturally come up with richer expression. In contrast to their previous generations, these young artists are more willing to explore the inner world, and find their own place as opposed to the outside world."

One of the artists, Xiaolonghua, a teacher in an art school in Shanghai, says he finds shelter and his own playground through art.

The artist chose his artistic name after the Shanghai-dialect pronunciation for crayfish: a cheap local delicacy, and a creature that survives on the bare minimum.

In his exhibition room on the second floor of the museum, Xiaolonghua built a post-apocalypse world resided by Wall-E-like figures and animals, such as a swan, snail, dog, and so on - all made of junk such as used corks, broken handles, clock parts and old plumbs.

Xiaolonghua admits that he has a hobby of collecting junk for his artistic creation. He goes to recycle centers, work sites and all kinds of junkyards to look for interesting items.

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