Window to China’s ‘Ego generation’

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Window to China’s ‘Ego generation’


“Obscurity of Youth,” by Xiong Yu

The exhibition titled “Splendid Ethics II” running at the Interalia Art Space in southern Seoul could be a window to understanding Chinese artists born in the 1970s, or “the ego generation” of artists, as the gallery refers to the group.

The show features paintings by six Chinese artists of this generation - Li Jikai, Jia Gang, Xiong Yu, Yin Jun, Yin Kun and Zheng Delong.

“This generation of artists has not experienced much political turbulence compared to their seniors and are familiar with capitalistic ways of life,” explained Kim Mi-ryoung, chief curator of Interalia.

“Accordingly, their works seldom show politics or ideologies. Instead, they are focused on personal inner sides or human nature.”


“Residual Petals Keeps Perfume,” above, by Jia Gang, are part of the “Splendid Ethics II” show at the Interalia Art Space. Provided by the gallery

In fact, the paintings on display show less anxiety and ominous emotion than works by their seniors with global fame such as Yue Minjun and Zeng Fanzhi.

Still, the artists participating in the exhibit have similar characteristics with their seniors; many of their works depict human faces.

Asked why, Zheng Delong, who was attending the press meeting in late May, said, “In the past communist period in China, ego was denied. Everything, even art, was for the nation and people - not for individuals. But now we have recovered egos and reconsider them. So, many Chinese artists have been painting faces since then.

“And our seniors, in many cases, painted faces in groups conflicting with ideologies,” he added.

“On the other hand, artists in our generation paint faces with egos in them.”

The exhibition runs through June 21. Admission is free. The gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. It is located near Coex Intercontinental Seoul Hotel. Go to Samseong Station, line No. 2, exit No. 5 and walk for 15 minutes. For details, call (02)3479-0114 or visit

By Moon So-young []

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