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Past in Reverse: Contemporary Art of East Asia

At the Hood through March 12

The Hood Museum of Art recently unveiled a major exhibition from the San Diego Museum of Art featuring works by more than twenty established and up-and-coming artists and artists' groups from mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea. Open through March 12, the show explores artistic trends throughout the region. The exhibition's premise is borrowed from a common practice shared by these artists - namely, using the past to map the future. Ranging in age from their twenties to their fifties and working with both traditional materials and new technologies, the artists in "Past in Reverse" represent the region's tremendous contemporary influence and deep cultural complexity. The exhibition provides viewers with a rare look at work from several artistic communities in Asia that are gaining a foothold on the world cultural stage.

(Image courtesy of Wang Qinsong and Courtyard Gallery, Beijing)

Through paintings, photography, video, digital media, and sculpture, "Past in Reverse" asserts the interrelated cultural identities of East and West, while connecting art with current geopolitical conditions. Reflecting the emergence of East Asia in the global economic and political arena, these artistic innovations open a window on a rich blend of cultural specificity and cross-cultural interdependency. They also shape fresh readings of contemporary society by extending or redefining both traditional and modernist visual languages. The process of self-evaluation and discovery and experimentation with new technologies, has yielded a host of challenging solutions that welcome the seduction of historical reference and its ability to propel us toward the future. Some of the featured artists include Soun-gui Kim, Cai Guo-Qiang, Wang Qingsong, Yang Fudong, Hiroshi Fuji, Michael Lin, Leung Mee Ping, and Hung Yi.

"Past in Reverse" is on view at the Hood Museum of Art through March 12. Above: "Flower Painting with Bird and Butterfly" (2004) by Hee-Jeong Jang. Top: "Knickknack Peddler" (2002) by Wang Qinsong (Image courtesy of Hee-Jong Jang)

This exhibition was organized in San Diego with major support from the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation. Its presentation at the Hood is generously funded by the Marie-Louise and Samuel R. Rosenthal Fund; the Hansen Family Fund; the Ray Winfield Smith 1918 Fund; and the Leon C. 1927, Charles L. 1955, and Andrew J. 1984 Greenebaum Fund.

An opening lecture was presented on January 13 by Betti-Sue Hertz, curator of contemporary art at the San Diego Museum of Art. Other public programming highlights include a teen workshop, a family day, and a special afternoon of presentations by Melissa Chiu, Director of the Asia Society, New York, and internationally renowned artist Wenda Gu. For more information about the exhibition and these events, call 646-2808 or visit


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Last Updated: 12/17/08