Big Woman and Little Man (2012) by Zhang Xiaogang. (Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn)
The Vocabulary of the Visible World displays paintings by 10 artists, who are widely recognized as representatives of Chinese contemporary art, such as Ding Yi, Yan Peiming and Zhang Xiaogang.
Most of them were born in the 1950s and '60s, and began their artistic careers soon after finishing art school. They were once called the "artists of underground exhibitions", when contemporary art just emerged as an alternative to the then dominant theme of socialist realism.
The works speak to dynamic styles that have been developing in Chinese art in the past two decades.
Zhang, for instance, blends elements of expressionism and surrealism to form a distinguished language of imagery. Ding's signature mystic marks, which recur and repeat in his many paintings, tell of a spiritual cultivation that helps the Shanghai artist achieve inner peace.
Participating artist Zeng Fanzhi's work shows a chaotic scene suggesting his complicated feelings for Chinese classical landscape painting.
The exhibition runs at the Museum Kuppersmuhle fur Moderne Kunst in Duisburg, Germany, through Sept 13.