Almine Rech Shanghai is pleased to present Sequitur, John M Armleder’s fourth solo exhibition with the gallery. In 2019, Armleder took part of the exhibition Abstraction(s) at the Song Art Museum in Beijing. Sequitur will take place from July 9 to August 14, 2021.
In the second half of the 20th century, Chinese art forms continued to be ideologized in the recurring waves of political movements. In different periods, abstract painting, and art in general, have been eulogized by contemporary artists as symbols of freedom. The liberation movement in the late 1970s propelled the diverse exploration of a generation of Chinese artists in the following decade. Active in both practice and theory, these artists were later described as the “85 New Wave”. Soon after that, due to the shrinking of civic space in the late 80s, some academic artists espoused the idea of “linguistic purism”, where artistic forms and techniques are separated from the substance and concept. They over-prioritized forms and techniques, even equating them with art itself. They also criticized the “85 New Wave” for its inclination towards theory, and concept over the exploration of artistic language. They even brusquely put the two in direct opposition, resulting in a creative dead-end that treated language as a means to an end. This binary thinking reverberates in the present; today’s art viewers are still befuddled by this limiting dichotomy between technique and concept, form and content.