Motion Is Action - 35 Years of Chinese Media Art

2023.09.22 - 2024.02.25
Through the lens of motion, BY ART MATTERS presents the evolving media art practices of Chinese artists across generations

Motion Is Action - 35 Years of Chinese Media Art


Exhibition Date: 2023.09.22 - 2024.02.25

Location: 1F & 6F


BY ART MATTERS is proud to announce the fifth season exhibition Motion Is Action - 35 Years of Chinese Media Art, which will take place from September 22, 2023, to February 25, 2024. This groundbreaking exhibition marks the first retrospective presentation of Chinese contemporary art history from a Chinese perspective. By examining the development and transformations in Chinese media art, the exhibition aims to explore the significant role of media expansion in the evolution of contemporary art, brought about by the information age. Through this exploration, the exhibition examines a series of thought-provoking issues, including scene reconstruction, the manipulation of time and space, perceptual misalignment, the creation of new artistic languages, and reflections on social and cultural contexts.


This exhibition brings together 79 representative works by 72 artists and groups from different generations. The works encompass a variety of media, including video, installations, performance art, interactive pieces, games, and digital art. The exhibition not only reflects on the early practices of video art but also delves into the cutting-edge exploration of emerging media and art forms such as artificial intelligence and space art.


The artworks are connected in chronological order and revolve around the thematic keyword of "motion." The exhibition is divided into three chapters: Motion as Action, Motion as Interaction, and Motion as Agency. Through the progression of these chapters, the audience can embark on a time-travel-like experience, tracing the artists' evolving understanding of different issues and exploring the transformation of artistic creations in terms of media, forms of expression, and concepts. Additionally, visitors can gain a profound appreciation of the depth and breadth of the Chinese art world.


Curator Zhang Ga, in discussing the theme Motion as Action, highlights the central idea of "movement as action." Media art, characterised by its dynamic nature, utilises technology to generate various forms of motion, enabling the creation of narratives and exploration of evolving themes. Simultaneously, it challenges the audience's perception of reality. Artists, through diverse modes of movement, express their distinctive reflections and responses to the contemporary era.

Originating in the late 1980s and gaining prominence in the 1990s, Chinese media art has emerged as one of the country's most dynamic and experimental art forms. In contrast to traditional artistic mediums, media art offers a flexible and diverse range of expressions, liberating artists from the static, one way visual dominance of painting and sculpture. By embracing digital technologies, media art introduces dimensions of time and motion into the works, revolutionising the way art is perceived and experienced. This transformation prompts a contemporary and universal question: how do we view and experience our personal lives and the world around us? The development of media art is intrinsically linked to scientific and technological progress, as well as the historical processes of society and culture. Therefore, studying Chinese media art not only provides insights into the history of contemporary Chinese art but also offers a retrospective examination of the advancements in science, technology, and cultural shifts over the past 35 years. This exploration encourages deep contemplation on the power of art, human civilisation, and societal transformations.

Hangzhou, the birthplace of China's inaugural media art piece, solidified its position by establishing the pioneering New Media Department at the China Academy of Arts in 2003, marking a significant milestone in the field. This establishment aimed to foster the creativity and vitality of Chinese media art. To this day, creatives raised or currently based in Hangzhou and many practitioners from around the globe, continue to export perspectives of contemporary Chinese culture to the global art community through vibrant and innovative works and projects. On the occasion of the Hangzhou Asian Games, BY ART MATTERS aspires to enable guests from all corners of the country and overseas to experience China's advancements in science, technology, culture, and economy through the exhibition Motion is Action - 35 Years of Chinese Media Art. Moreover, the exhibition aims to facilitate a retrospective understanding and imaginative exploration of the present and future of Chinese society by embracing the artists' visionary perspectives.

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