Look back in anger

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 February, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 February, 1993, 12:00am

China's New Art Post 1989, The Arts Centre, Until February 25 WITH a glimpse at China's post-Cultural Revolution art, this extraordinary exhibition takes up the story in the wake of Tiananmen. I have never seen the naked disillusion of the young and the not-so young expressed with such ferocity and such profound sorrow anywhere in contemporary art.

The exhibition is about politics, society, and expression, and the need for an authoritarian regime to suppress the rising sap of youth.

Not surprisingly, these works often deal with the subject via the Western means of expressionism, but also cryptically, neo-realistically, and almost always with the heat of passion and of the crisis of drama.

Much of the work is more political statement than art. But one can see art beginning to triumph over the anger that inspired it.

The picture of a social experiment that went wrong is clear and arresting - and painful to contemplate. For behind the raw present lies the unmistakable pervasive power of the younger generation and their capacity to express revolt, and to reflect the long genius of the Chinese people.