Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Performance art in China

Why does this article irritate me? Maybe because the article seems sponsored by all the businesses (and buisiness-like governments) moving into China recently. Try this for instance:
In the 25 years since China abandoned rote communism and embraced the idea of encouraging private enterprise...
Maybe because, in need of having "serious artists", it refers to a Wu Yu Ren as an "internationally recognized artist". I have never heard of him, so I Google-checked it. Now, this seems pretty cruel, but if Google doesn't know you, the world pretty much doesn't either. I'm sure Wu Yu Ren is an excellent artist, and now that the article is published he is internationally known, at the least. But that would be the sin of what is called a "self-realizing prophecy" on the part of the journalist.
Or maybe, because of the way performance art is portrayed in the article:
performance artists--members of the ultra avant-garde who specialize in shocking their audiences
My point is that if this is an article for people who know nothing about performance art - I sincerely doubt it can do any good. Not only is the above statement false, it corresponds to a stereotype that is cerainly no more accurate in China any more than it is anywhere else in the world.
Then again, I did put the link. That's because it is rare to find anything about what the art world actually lives like around the world. If you want to get another, deeper picture of performance art in China, try this article. I found it after writing the above. Here is what I found:
Performance art is often seen as gratuitous violence, nudity, absurdity - a naked emperor who struts only to see who will first avert her eyes, obscuring the many playful, joyful and moving performances created by some of China's most outstanding artists. Here we look beyond the gore to a performance art that embraces life.

1 comment:

Other Lisa said...

vvoi, thanks for your comment on my blog - and thanks for the article from Beijing scene (?) that you linked to as well. I think you're right and that it's a much more thoughtful piece. One thing I didn't mention in my post is the amount of really shocking and gross performance art there seems to be in China - a friend told me a story about a piece that involved cooking ducks...let's just say it was too gross for me to write it up...

(my main blog is on blogspot too. the blog-city mirror is to elude China's cybernanny)


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