ChinaSquare Gallery New York is pleased to present Cui Guotai’s first U.S. Solo show, EVIDENCE OF A LOST ERA, curated by Robert C. Morgan. Evidence of a Lost Era will be on view October 1 – November 1, 2008, with an opening reception Thursday October 2nd, and will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with an essay by Robert C. Morgan. Cui Guotai’s large-scale expressionist-style paintings express a remarkable irony, questioning and deconstructing China’s planned economy. Cui Guotai depicts evidence of a lost era, a disappearance of an industrial age in China, built on disillusionment.
Cui Guotai reveals the signs of a partial history, a history of frantic production where goods and commodities were produced less with an intention of economic stability than as a strategy to maintain a salutary appearance to the world outside. Many of the recent paintings are done in black and white and therefore suggest a newsprint veneer, a concealment of reality reminiscent of Picasso’s politically-charged painting of Guernica from the thirties. The bridges, tunnels, and smokestacks appear dreary and empty, without function, without hope of revival. They confront us with the emptiness of another time, another period of history, invariably tied to idealist hopes and aspirations, yet removed from China’s present-day image of slick entrepreneurship.
Cui Guotai was born in Shenyang Province in Northeast China in 1964. A graduate of the Northeast Normal University, Ginghua University and the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Cui currently lives and works in Beijing. His work has been shown extensively throughout China, was in the 2nd Beijing Biennial and a solo show at Beijing’s National Art Museum of China. His work is currently on view in Half-Life of a Dream: Contemporary Chinese Art from the Logan Collection at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Robert C. Morgan is an international critic, artist, curator, and lecturer in New York City, who is focused on the problems of the artist in an era of accelerating globalization. He is the recipient of the first Arcale award in Art Criticism and a Fulbright senior scholar. In addition to his many books and literally hundreds of essays (with translations in 17 languages), Professor Morgan has curated over 60 exhibitions, and is Consulting Editor to The Brooklyn Rail, Contributing Editor to Sculpture, and a New York Correspondent to Art Press (Paris).