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Rising inspiration

Few countries in recent memory have undergone such a rapid transformation as the People's Republic of China – and not just economically, but also socially and culturally. Modern art in China today is completely different than it was just three or five years ago. Building on the foundations of one of the oldest cultures in the world, the country’s creative minds have catapulted themselves into a global modernity almost overnight.

“Art is an important force in the further development of a society,” emphasises Jens Puttfarcken, President and CEO of Porsche China. In 2017, Porsche China took the initiative to a new level with the Young Chinese Artist of the Year (YAOY) programme to promote the country’s future avant-garde.

Porsche China’s commitment to art sine 2009

The original impetus for Porsche China’s commitment to art was another natural disaster: an earthquake in Sichuan Province on May 12, 2008 claimed 70,000 lives, with thousands of children in collapsed schools among the victims. The tragedy laid bare the vulnerability of the young pupils and led to the initiative Empowering the Future, which was established by Porsche China in 2009. The programme’s first project was to encourage students from the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute to undertake art projects on the theme of Caring for Children and thereby raise awareness of the fragility and needs of the youngest children.

The current YAOY programme is intended not only to provide fresh ideas for China, but also to open up new perspectives for the rest of the world: to create a broader picture that goes beyond the conventional view of China that is widespread in traditional media. Porsche continues to support the award winners as they forge ahead in their careers, and last year sponsored special scholarships for master’s students in the field of art.

Liu Wa The 25-year-old artist studied art and anthropology. The daughter of painting teachers in Beijing, she was captivated by a passion for art at an early age. “With my work, I want to represent both the clinical and human aspects of feelings,” she explains. Liu is enthusiastic about the possibilities of the digital age, yet at the same time feels overwhelmed by the speed and flood of information. Her way of mastering that balancing act: “I find my inner peace with meditation apps.”

She has begun further studies in art and technology at the renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In her opinion, the fact that more and more young Chinese are pursuing an education abroad has made the art of their homeland more intelligible and established worldwide, but has also cost them a bit of independence.

Ma Lingli

Ma Lingli received clear affirmation of her talent even before her participation in the first YAOY in 2017: the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute awarded her bachelor’s thesis the grade “outstanding.” She won her first prize for up-and-coming artists in 2013. The specialty of the 31-year-old artist is the combination of colour on silk. “Materials with temperature that evoke memories of everyday life and the body,” she says.

Originally from the city of Chengdu, the now Beijing-based artist’s work focuses on reflection and interaction.

Chen Baoyang

Initially it was race cars that fascinated young Chen Baoyang. Although he would not be able to turn his passion for technology into a racing career, the “magic of machines,” as he calls this attraction, remained with him down the years. The winner of the Young Chinese Artist of the Year award in 2019 hails from an artistic dynasty.

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Jan 03, 2021 at 22:01

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