The museum’s recent acquisition Last Days of Village Wen by the contemporary artist Ji Yun-Fei (born 1963) is the focus of this exhibition in the Chinese painting gallery. Village Wen depicts a fictional story addressing environmental issues and mass human migration in contemporary China. Other works in the show include traditional paintings from the collection articulating two recurring themes in Chinese art history—the relationships between past and present and between man and nature.
Ji Yun-Fei explores the tensions and contradictions between past and present, emphasizing how the past can serve as a repository of memory and experience and can reflect the present. His work incorporates elements of both history and fantasy to highlight modern society’s increasing detachment from ancient notions of harmonious human/nature relationships. It alludes to the worldwide, contemporary experience of human migration. In creating a narrative that addresses real and palpable concerns, he contests the power of the authorities to tell official stories.