Explore the possibilities of paper at ShanghArt Gallery

From pastel and watercolour paintings to pencil sketches to collages of soot and ash, the Paper group exhibition by 11 Chinese artists at ShanghArt Gallery shows the myriad possibilities of paper in artistic creation. Stretching the limits of the age-old medium, these artists' works question identity, history, politics and culture.

Overlapped Lightening Part 2 (160) (1996),
By Geng Jianyi
Watercolour on paper, 21.5x19.5x0.3cm

The artist was intrigued by the ancient Chinese belief that when people's facial images overlap, the wholeness of their being is thrown into question. He constructed the collage by selecting facial fragments of two people and overlaying them.

Untitled (2006)
By Li Shan
Watercolour and acrylic on cardboard, 102x32cm in eight pieces

Li employs a set of symbols often seen on rural playing cards in his hometown province of Jiangsu in north-eastern China. These playing cards, which consist of 108 pieces depicting heroes from a martial arts novel, were apparently the former incarnation of mahjong.

Flag (2011)
By Liu Weijian
Watercolour on paper, 55x77cm

This painting of a lone flag set against a brilliant blue sky is in keeping with the themes of industrialisation and isolation in Liu's works of modern China.

Painting (1996)
By Shen Fan
Oil on paper, 96x96cm

The Shanghai-based abstract artist used a stone-rubbing method to daub paint onto the canvas, producing these four tightly etched-out shapes. The work also features his signature use of the colour black and the print effect with wide borders.

21G-The Man Waving His Fist (2010)
By Sun Xun
Pastel painting, 30.5x43cm

Constructed from 43 black-and- white pieces that look like film out-takes, the piece was originally conceived as part of an animation. A prominent work in the oeuvre of Beijing-based Sun, who often questions and probes historical accounts in his work.

Hepburn (2008)
By Xue Song
Mixed media on canvas, 150x120cm

The collage artist's career has been defined by fire. After a 1990 blaze gutted his studio and destroyed most of his works, he gathered soot and ashes from the charred remains and made them into new works, piecing together collages that draw on art across different cultures and eras.

Tree (2004)
By Zhang Enli
Watercolour on paper, 530x350cm

This massive watercolour painting occupies the entire length of a wall. Working from photographs he takes of his environment, Zhang transposes and paints an image on a grid. He leaves the grid behind for an unfinished effect.

WHERE: 9 Lock Road, 02-22, Gillman Barracks MRT: Labrador Park WHEN: Till July 19, 11am - 7pm (closed on Mon & July 17) ADMISSION: Free TEL: 6734-9537 INFO: www.shanghartsingapore.com

Lee Jian Xuan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 03, 2015, with the headline 'Hour At The Museum '. Print Edition | Subscribe