Compulsion, Conflict and Contempt
Brighton based artist Jim Sanders and Zhou Ming from Shanghai, have been working closely together in an attempt to create a lasting cultural discourse between both cities through art.
The exhibition, called The Dissident, was first presented at Shanghai’s V Art Centre in 2013 and aims to tie not only cultural, but also geographic and artistic bonds between the UK and China.
Zhou Ming, the instigator of the exhibition, uses his art at The Dissident to portray nonconformity or to act as a dissident in order to find an individual significance on a personal, political and artistic level.
The artwork parallels Brighton based Sanders’ imagery of an over-indulged society with Zhou Ming’s interpretation of collective suppression in Shanghai. The artists endeavour to portray the ineffectiveness of dissenting from ambiguous ideologies with the danger of being labelled a dissenter.
The exhibition, which was attended by the Mayor of Brighton, Brian Fitch, was filled with a variety of visitors from Shanghai and different parts of the UK eager to engage with and learn about the artists’ latest project. The views which Ming and Sanders expressed in the gallery are not allowed in Shanghai; however in a Western, more liberal society, they can be explored and interpreted.
The Mayor called the event a ‘new opportunity to create relationships with other countries’ and continued by saying that people in the UK ‘are so fortunate to live in a country where the freedom of expression can be celebrated’. He also addressed global issues of freedom of speech and expression and claimed he was elected under the theme peace and harmony, stating ‘we have to make this planet a planet we want,’ and calling the censorship of freedom of expression a tragedy.
Themes at the gallery also included sexuality as a symbol of dominance over power. Zhou Ming’s animation depicted a ‘banning of the workers from copulating with their revered objects but only so the authoritarian figures can control it for their own gain’.
Curated by Bethan Troakes and Chao Jiaxing, the exhibition was filled with all types of artworks such as Ink and collage on paper, Ink on Wood and Animation art with the artists present to explicate their art to the visitors.
By Iara Kaiser