House, Pencil and oil on wood, 15.6×9.8 cm, 2004

Courtesy of the artist.

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Geng Jianyi, Eternal Rays of The Sun, Oil on canvas, 195×133cm×5, 1992

Eternal Rays of the Sun series were works Geng Jianyi has prepared specifically for the 1993 Venice Biennale. The work may seem to embody the “political pop” style, when in fact the artist’s emphasis was not to highlight the red, bright and glorious background of the Cultural Revolution and its representation of the farmers, worker, and soldiers class. Instead, it concealed a visual game where the center of each painting consists of the shifting foci of the group photograph on the backside of the 5 yuan bill. As if these paintings are five fixed frames of an animation, the radiant background could thus be taken out of the political myth and be restored to its initial impetus in visual design. In this sense, this work was meant to disenchant, rather than creating a myth to demystify, it confronted the experiences of a time through an individual’s everyday sentiments, this was the ingenuity Geng Jianyi has preserved throughout his lifetime.

Wang Jianwei, Production, single channel, color, stereo sound, 60’, 1996

Production was the work of art Wang Jianwei presented on the 10th Documenta in Kassel. This work could be both considered as a documentary film and a video work. Wang filmed a few groups of people in the public spaces of Sichuan. In this 60-min clip without any traces of interviews, large sections its dialogues and monologues did not build up a central narrative, on the contrary, its discontinuous empty shots and its intentionally added artificial noise done in post-production engendered a kind of ambiguous and mixed – either politically or aesthetically – visual presence. Likewise, the title of the artwork equally embraces this bewildering character. “Production” is both a terminology rich in every day and local experiences, and a technical term with critical and theoretical implications. In all, this work is not only prescient for Wang Jianwei’s ongoing ambivalent attitude and approach thereafter, but also underscores the wavering conditions between “left and right” for contemporary Chinese art.

Li Liao, A Slap in Wuhan, Video, Color, Sound, 5’09”, 2010

On the Pedestrian Street in Wuchang District, Wuhan City, Hubei Province, Li Liao closed his eyes, waited for a slap in the face from the perpetrator who volunteered online. After the slap, Li Liao continued to maintain his eyes closed until the perpetrator left.

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