The Fifth Dimension – Art of Fiber and Space

Private Life by Li Dian

The Fifth Dimension – Art of Fiber and Space (October 18 – December 4, 2009) at MOCA Shanghai presented the works of 24 teachers and students of the Fiber and Space Art Studio from the Fifth Studio of the Sculpture Department of China Academy of Arts.

Titled to convey the interests of the Fiber and Space Art Studio in examining the world from a fifth dimension, the exhibition presents reconstructured realities from a virtual dimension imagined by the artists. Tracing the sensibilities and evolution of contemporary art practice by Chinese artists working with fibrous materials since the 1980s, the exhibition unveils the shifts in uses of and perspectives on aesthetic expression which integrates fiber with painting, sculpture and installation.

During the 1980s, members of the Fiber and Space Art Studio, such as Shi Hui, participating artist and one of the exhibition’s three curators, experimented with structures and space through materials such as bamboo and paper, in addition to the traditional materials of wool, linen and cotton.

Today’s experimentation takes the form of incorporating materials such as plastic, polyurethane and other industrial materials to create soft sculptures which reflect also, on the fast-changing Chinese society and the impact of consumerism on people’s daily lives. In his work, Nightmare, Zhan Jun uses iron and aluminium wires to fabricate an exhaust pipe forming the trunk of a bare and forlorn tree with extended roots of metal, to express his reflections on the relationship between industrialization and the environment.

Nightmare by Zhan Jun

Nightmare by Zhan Jun

The exhibition pays tribute to the vision and work of Professor Maryn Varbanov (1932-1989), a Bulgarian artist who started the Varbanov Tapestry Research Center in the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts in 1986, the first contemporary fiber art research center in China, which later led to the founding of the Fiber and Space Art Studio.

Participating artists: Shi Hui, Shan Zeng, Huang Yan, Liang Shaoji, Chen Wei, Fu Yan, He Shanshan, Huang Zhe, Li Dian, Li Wei, Lin Changwen, Lin Jia, Song Chunyang, Wang Hei, Wang Jinglei, Wang Zhenghong, Wang Zhijian, Wu Jiazhen, Xu  Jia, Ying Nihui, Ying Xinxun, Zhan Jun, Zhang Hui, and Zhou Hui.