Jin Shangyi, Tajikistan Bride © CAFA Art Museum
Painting Xinjiang
Jul 12 – Aug 20, 2023
CAFA Art Museum
Beijing, China

The exhibition Painting Xinjiang: Xinjiang-Focused Art Since the 20th Century aims to present signature artworks from 20th century China that have Xinjiang as their subject matter. It focuses on the unique phenomenon in Chinese modern art history, in which waves of artists travel to remote Xinjiang to create studies as a group artistic endeavor. The exhibition places emphasis on “Xinjiang” as visual reference and its influence on these artists and their work, as well as artistic breakthroughs with the genre of “study.” It is a demonstration of explorations and achievements by Chinese artists since the 20th century, a historical contribution.

The exhibition divides the historical period into four chronological chapters and a special case-studies section on contemporary art practice. The four chapters include the pioneer period before 1949, art in socialist China (1949–1979), China after opening-up (1979–2000), and present-day China (2000–present). Through showcasing studies in Xinjiang from these four periods, the exhibition tries to address questions including: What ideologies are at work in such an operation concerning Xinjiang, and how did the ideologies operate and provide articulations in a total system of art production? And most significantly, how do these ideologies work in and articulate artistic practices? Furthermore, what role did the unique cultural and geographical characteristics of Xinjiang play in this artistic practice?