Zhao Zhao, Rain, Video, Color, Sound, 15’35”, 2012

Rain was filmed during the flooding that occurred in Beijing on July 21, 2012, one of the worst in living memory and one of many that occurred throughout China during that year. There is a chronic shortage of water in Beijing but in just a few hours, the city received six to seven inches of rain, and nearby mountain regions experienced flash flooding and landslides, leading to mass evacuations and numerous deaths. Wanting to be more than a bystander, Zhao Zhao found an inflatable mattress, which he used as an improvised vessel to float around under the Guangqumen Overpass, which saw some of the most drastic flooding. He also documented the flooded city with a video camera.

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Yao Qingmei, Sanzu Ding and its patterns 2 — Hypotheses on the origin of the hammer-sickle sign: Shamanism, Video, Color, Sound, 11’50”, 2013–present

In 2013, during the construction operation in Longmen county of Yangshao area, Henan, workers unexpectedly discovered a red pottery tripod (“ding”). The vortex pattern on the vessel bears similarity with the modern “hammer and sickle” motif used to represent New China. According to the C-14 dating, the tripod excavated in Longmen has a five-thousand-year history. Chinese archaeologists have named its mysterious pattern the “hammer and sickle”. On the basis of archaeology, anthropology, psychoanalysis, semantics, semiotics and mythology, Professor Yao focuses her research on the origin and development of the “hammer and sickle” motif, concerning which she proposes six hypotheses with scientific significance.

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.

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