Traces of Actions: Asian Abstract Art

Long Museum(West Bund)


Traces of Actions: Asian Abstract Art

Duration: 2020.5.21—2020.8.23

Long Museum (West Bund) Gallery 3

No. 3398, Longteng Avenue, Xuhui District, Shanghai


For a long period of time, the art of painting was almost considered synonymous to the art of imitation. It invested itself in constructing a seemingly substantial yet illusory visual terrain. However, since the twentieth century, the established notion of painting began to “mutate” — images gradually deviated from the traditional figurative representation and concrete narratives, creating room for ambiguous forms, unconventional media, and free expressions. These qualities constitute our fundamental conception of the so-called abstract art.


As the modernist fever swept across the globe, abstract paintings, in the name of “art for art’s sake,” became the mainstream practice, giving rise to a multitude of avant-garde art groups. The aesthetic shift not only reflected the diverse ideas of the emerging individual artists, but also bore witness to an ideological transformation of the society in large. Points, lines and planes, the most basic forms of art-making, were orchestrated on a flat surface — they emerged as the testimony to the traces of our actions. Empty signifiers became the concrete marks of individual lives.


Until today, art is still attempting to transcend itself, as a way to cope with the contemporary crisis and predicament. In the current era of rapid development, we encounter all kinds of situations caused by modernization and globalization, the solution of which perhaps requires this kind of reflection-based imagination. As the Stars Art Group (Xingxing Huahui) once advocated, "We perceive the world with our own eyes and participate in the world with our own brushes. There are all kinds of countenances in our paintings, and our countenances communicate our ambitions." It is our sincere hope that the display of diverse artistic expressions can evoke an all-accessible feeling of sympathy and empathy, and invite profound contemplations and discussions.