With any attempt to showcase China’s contemporary art, murmurings of the country’s place in the global landscape dominates. Echoes of this resonate in the Pavilion’s theme: transfiguration. It speaks of the radiance of its art. What arises is the notion of change. Emergent, changing tastes are a dictate of the marketplace, ever on the ready to consume creativity. It whispers the name of change, of newness, of the disjuncture between past and present, presence and loss – without adopting agitative, confrontational postures. It ruptures the easy, traditional delineations between dominants and margins. Such is its intent focus on the expansive Middle. Such are the middling tensions between difference and indifference. Homogeneity and divergence converge on the artifacts here. In resisting the baiting of liberal sensibilities, it utters the unspoken.
The China Pavilion thus stakes a claim against the commodifying of dissent by foregrounding a reality of contemporary Chinese art: that it is far more subtle and nuanced than those that an artist such as Ai Weiwei is wont to show to the world. Is it possible to give this nuance and subtlety a more permanent presence within the onslaught of the marketplace?Lim Lee Ching