Arts

Arts

Obituary: photographer Wang Fuchun, who took iconic photos of life on Chinese railways, is dead at 79
Wang Fuchun, who garnered worldwide attention for his sensitive portraits of life on Chinese railways, died in Beijing on Saturday at the age of 79 of an undisclosed illness. Wang, who worked on the railways in the 1970s, won domestic and international awards in photography for taking pictures of people from different walks of life as they traveled across China via trains.  Covering the decades when China rose from an economic backwater to a global superpower, his work also offers an insightful portrait of Chinese society during a time of radical transformation.  From steam locomotives to bullet trains, images taken by Wang showcased the cultural, economic, and social changes that took plac
China celebrates as the Golden Globes anoints a new star
A Chinese film director has made history as the first Asian woman – and second woman ever – to win the best director award. As accolades poured in from around the world for Chloé Zhao, the 38-year-old’s stepmother Song Dandan – a well-known actress in China – described her as legend in their family whose win would inspire countless Chinese children. Zhao won the best director gong for her film Nomadland – the third of her films following on from Songs My Brothers Taught Me (2015) and The Rider (2017). The film stars Frances McDormand as a recent widow who is forced to lead a nomadic life traversing rural Nevada after the economy collapsed in the United States’ Great Recession of 2008. The
Chinese artist finds himself in nationalistic storm
For Andy Warhol, making provocative art pieces of pop stars and political icons, including Mao Zedong, made him fabulously wealthy. For Shanghai-based Zhang Chenchu, similar works have put him in the middle of a nationalistic storm of criticism and controversy.  Much like the late father of pop art, Zhang has an addiction to painting celebrities – from Chinese billionaires and politicians to writers, movie stars and intellectuals, also including Mao.   But one of Zhang’s latest paintings sparked a storm in China and put him at the center of a debate about national pride. The work, which was released on Monday, features the faces of four Chinese scholars on a red background. A yellow five-po
A tradition continues: Hollywood destroys Hong Kong
What does Hollywood have against Hong Kong? The first trailer for Godzilla vs. Kong dropped this week, and the city features prominently in the kaiju-fronted blockbuster. The film expands on Warner Bros and Legendary’s ambitious MonsterVerse franchise, which began in 2014 with Gareth Edwards’ moody take on Godzilla, before continuing with the 1970s-set Kong: Skull Island (2017), starring Tom Hiddleston and Brie Larson, and 2019’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters, which starred Zhang Ziyi and added a host of other classic creatures to the mix. Godzilla vs. Kong, directed by Adam Wingard (Blair Witch, Death Note), appears to use Hong Kong as a battleground for a climactic stand-off between the t
A furniture heiress is becoming a champion of the Chinese art scene
Che Xuanqiao isn’t like other multi-millionaire heiresses. At least that’s what she’d have you believe. Sitting in a coffee shop sporting a simple t-shirt, her clothes and make-up free appearance belie her position as one of China’s rich millennials. And one who is shaking up the Chinese art market. China now boasts as many young collectors as it does young artists. With money to burn, these wealthy second-generation young adults like Che are turning their purchases into exhibitions, joining a proliferation of private museums and exhibition spaces springing up in Hong Kong. Che’s love of art has led to an exhibition-sized art collection, which will soon be showcased in a new art space she h
Cultural icon ‘plagiarism’ sparks debate about art
A Chinese artist and academic has painted himself into a pickle with art lovers who have accused him of plagiarising cultural icons. But the artist, Feng Feng, a professor at one of China’s top fine-art academies, has hit back at critics, saying the works achieved his goal of getting people to talk about art. Feng stands accused of plagiarising Miffy, the world-famous cartoon rabbit created by a Dutch artist in 1955.  But he refuses to apologize for putting a duck’s beak on the cultural icon in his “Rabbitduck” series. “Plagiarism and appropriation represent two different attitudes,” Feng told Inkstone.   “Those who plagiarise often try to hide the original by making changes to it, and they
An artistic movement emerges around dumplings
The world, it seems, has gone mad for dumplings, with fans of the plump pillows of perfection getting all steamed up about them. But it’s not just on the dining table that these doughy parcels of deliciousness inspire rapturous delight. Dumplings have moved from the back burner to the front and center of the show from China to Hong Kong, America, and India, where artists create dumpling-themed designs for products gaining popularity worldwide. “I think dumplings have become a shorthand for various Asian cuisines in the West,” says Stephanie Shih, 34, a New York-based Taiwanese-American artist. In Hong Kong, dumplings are Elizabeth Fry’s ultimate comfort food. The designer, entrepreneur and
‘A Little Red Flower’ blossoms in China
One may think that a global pandemic would turn people off of films about illness, but in China, the recent box office darling explores the toll that severe illness takes on the human psyche.  The movie, titled A Little Red Flower, is a love story about a couple with cancer and the stress it puts on their families.  The movie stars Jackson Yee, whose performance in Better Days (2019) brought much critical acclaim, and Liu Haocun, who plays his girlfriend who also has cancer. Released on December 31, the movie has grossed more US$155 million in ticket sales in China as of January 11. By comparison, Hollywood blockbuster Wonder Woman 1984 has made around US$25 million despite being released o
Director’s plagiarism background may have gotten his movie pulled in China
The first rule any writer learns is that plagiarism often results in the death of a career, and popular Chinese novelist and screenwriter Guo Jingming may be learning this lesson first hand.  The Yin-Yang Master: Dream of Eternity, a recent blockbuster movie directed by Guo, was pulled from cinemas across China last week, with many in the industry suspecting it has to do with a belated plagiarism apology.  In 2003, Guo was accused of copying In and Out of the Circle, a book by Zhuang Yu, for his novel Never Flowers in Never Dreams, which became a major hit.  In 2006, he was ordered by a court to issue a public apology, but he did not do so until the final day of 2020 after 156 people from t
K-pop may help end China’s dispute with South Korea
Perhaps BTS’ next song should be titled Time heals all wounds because four years after China banned the K-pop supergroup, their songs have finally returned to Chinese airwaves.  In a promising sign this week that suggests warming relations between the two nations, the band’s hit song Dynamite was played on Beijing radio. One academic described the move as “hopeful”, but said it was too soon to tell if the nations’ long-running disputes would end.  Since 2016, relations between China and South Korea have been frosty after China strongly opposed South Korea’s decision to deploy the US anti-missile defense system THAAD.  Beijing’s backlash was swift, with Korean television shows banned and K-p