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The Real Thing: Contemporary art from China

This video brought to you by Tate.org.uk

This exhibition at Tate Liverpool explores contemporary art from China, aiming to convey the sheer diversity, confidence and ambition of art being made in China today. These predominantly young artists have chosen to remain in China, unlike many of the generation before them, and the majority of the work on show is seen for the first time outside the country. Curator Karen Smith describes the show.
Created by Tate.

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Video transcript

this is a show of work from 18 artists from China who was selected partly because they're one of the most interesting group of people at work in China today Simon groom who's head of exhibitions here has been thinking about doing this for many years this is not new when we started working the real thing I think the main point was not to have any curatorial theme we wanted to find artists who perhaps had to work that they've been thinking about for a long time but because of circumstances they haven't been able to do it and we wanted to have an opportunity no matter how challenging to let them do that piece of work we've tried to include a wide range of media in the show to really reflect what is happening now that we think is of artistic interest rather than mercantile interests this show really distinguish himself I think from any other show of contemporary Chinese are in the number of really spectacular Commission's we've been able to to achieve one of the works i think that offers a very interesting comments on china now is yahwah dongs new work that was specially commissioned by tate for the show which is called east of chair village what it is is a film that's really about the existence as experienced by a lot of people who live outside of those sort of up-and-coming and rapidly developing urban centers and he makes this in stock comparison between the dogs that's scavenge were living there and the people meaning that the living conditions between the two actually very little different and I think it's an incredibly poignant piece that looks at sort of you know just the humanity and the human issues for China today you come into the building here you see a sign that says only 118 steps to the top of Everest this is a piece produced by a shanghai-based artist region which comprises all the equipment and documentation of a trip to Everest he made last year including the top of the mountain which is presented in a marvelous glass case this is a marvelous work in in illustrating the humour of which the Chinese it's a capable it's also something that really challenges perceptions about what you're really looking at when you walk into this space and see this monumental container with with the mountaintop in it this show isn't limited to just the things in the gallery but also includes commissions for outside and of course we went for the most ambitious which is a floating chandelier with 800 bulbs in it made of real crystal that was put together in China and it finally floated for the opening of the exhibition we've also commissioned a firework spectacular by this young group based in the south of China it is not just a spectacle it really is announcing that actually there's a new generation of Chinese artists that have arrived and really it's a signal to the older generation watch out young Chinese on their way