“韩冰的系列艺术行为已经变成一个在现实空间里日常行为实践的奇妙神化”。
——洛杉矶时报 2004年
“Han Bing 属于中国新一代的艺术家。艺术家寻求以一种朴实而震撼的方式,来解读他们国家的‘经济繁荣’,去展现一个多元化的中国社会…… ‘中国的年轻艺术家们已有信心去诠释一个全新而迷茫的中国。今天中国艺术家们在描绘中国这个绝无仅有的历史时刻的时候,他们自身就在这个现场扮演着一个重要角色。”(Jessica Au《中国艺术工厂》)
——美国《新闻周刊》(2006年11月)
“韩冰持续三个月的行为艺术‘遛白菜周游美国’横跨美国八个州,以‘盛况空前的中国特色席卷美国这个所谓的发达国家’,韩冰的行为提醒我们去疑问我们的行为现状和日常生活实践是怎样形成的”。
——美国《自由- 时代周刊》(2007年1月)
韩冰的公共艺术计划“遛白菜运动在曼切斯特” 于曼切斯特的雨中开始,英国的流浪汉组织,同性恋组织,残疾人以及其他不同国家的志愿者数百人一起遛着英国大白菜在城市街头和车站散步,这个历时三个小时 流动的集体互动行为让曼切斯特全城为之沸腾。
——曼切斯特晚报2008,4
“韩冰的作品旨于将生活中的不可见变为可见 。作为一种中国的普通老百姓和底层人民必不可少的基本蔬菜,白菜在色彩和形态上朴实得几乎失去美感。通过将特定时刻中的特定社会语境同艺术家本身的个体阐述投射到这样一种世俗性的实物上,韩冰的“遛白菜”在行走中或行走后等待着旁观者的所有问题、疑惑、和挑战”。
----庄稼,加州大学行为表演学博士
今日社会急功近利的现代化发展对生态污染和对动物的迫害似乎习以为常,人们对强征强拆、对官僚资本腐败似乎也司空见惯,然而韩冰的艺术,韩冰在人间尘世的日常艺术实践指向的是整个宇宙生态社会的爱,是献给未来时代的指向我们时代的忏悔!(今日社会尤其是今日中国社会急功近利的发展生态污染和对动物的迫害似乎习以为常,人们对强征强拆、对对资本霸权腐败似乎也司空见惯,所以极端自我的‘人类的当代艺术’,尤其是人类地域性的‘某国当代 艺术’对韩冰的“都市琥珀”和“大工地时代”亦可能不以为然,然而这都没有关系,因为韩冰在人间尘世的日常艺术实践指向的是整个宇宙生态社会的爱,是献给未来时代的民主生态之我们时代的忏悔!)
——Nathaniel M. Stevens
跨媒介艺术家韩冰的许多视觉探索和行为介入,融合了社会批判和观念的冥思。他满怀热情地着手解决艺术与人类生存状态之间关系这些基本问题,令人想到约瑟夫•博伊斯(Joseph Beuys)、玛瑞娜•阿布拉莫维克(Marina Abramovic) 的创作精神。对他们而言,生活与艺术之间的必然关系,以及公共知识分子的角色在我们这个价值系统混乱的时代里的立场和实践,这些都是作为艺术家和作为一个 人之于社会责任的没有任何商量余地的必要条件。他的作品质询了中国在匆匆忙忙建设一个“现代化”国家的过程中所花费的人力成本,以及这一过程中社会地位、 基本价值观以及人们的希望与梦想的转变。
---- 文/迈涯(Maya Kóvskaya)美国,著名艺术策展人、艺术评论家,2010国际艺术评论大奖获得者
韩冰的行为艺术,录像以及摄影,这些作品的生命力,源于它们所发出的诘问,对当代都市中我们业已接受的行为准则的发问。韩冰的艺术,试图唤醒当下中国转型中的受益者和见证者们,要他们直面社会进程中的创造与破坏,通过日常的行为准则和判断力,认知出在社会转型进程中我们自身行径的对错。韩冰的作品,犹如一面镜子,我们专注地而清醒地注视它,注视着镜中映照出来的我们自己,我们当下中国的这个时代,我们无法不自问:“我所看到的这一切,我们喜欢与否呢?”
------文/Shannon May 加州大学人类学博士、社会学家

The Other Shore of Desire: Han Bing on Modernization and
Marginalization
ZHUANG JIA
Multidisciplinary Chinese artist Han Bing employs various artistic languages and media such as performance, multimedia installations, and photography to investigate and problematize modernization in China today. His memories of the poor rural village where he grew up, and of his early days as an artist in Beijing, interweave with his anxieties about the rapid changes in China's cities as they undergo the wrenching processes of modernization, urbanization, and globalization. His works capture the most poignant and paradoxical moments of the Chinese common people, both rural migrants and urbanites alike, as they are inextricably involved in the "Chinese dream" and the dramatic, if not devastating, urban transformation of the nation.
Han Bing examines problems unresolved in the early stages of "modernization," such as the conflict between individual autonomy and ideological constraints. He also grapples with various types of new "capitalistic" problems that have befallen China, such as soaring social inequalities, increasing materialism and consumerism, a collective nihilism, and a lack of human care. Based on his own experience and understanding of the national project of modernization, Han Bing creates works that critically capture what seem like the thorny contradictions of Chinese modernity--the juxtaposition of the marginalized rural population and the urban nouveaux riches, and the overlap of "the developing" and "the developed" within a single spatial-temporal dimension.
A group cabbage-walking "happening" with several professors and a group of students on the UCLA campus in December, 2006, launched the beginning of Han Bing's Walking the Cabbage US tour, which lasted for 3 months. Walking the Cabbage began in 2000, and has since been conducted in public spaces across China—from Han Bing's home village in rural Jiangsu to Tiananmen Square, from the Yunnanese minority village in China's Southwest to the Westernized Bund in Shanghai—across the US—from Hollywood to Manhattan, Miami to Mississippi, Houston to San Francisco—and in March, 2007, onward to Brussels and Paris. This cross-continental ongoing "social intervention" performance piece, challenges conventional notions of "performance" and everyday practice, drawing artist, participants and spectators into an interactive encounter that produces multiple significations, that not only expand restrictive scenarios of representation, but also provoke cogitation over the performative subject(s) and act(s). The performative function of Han Bing's Walking the Cabbage is to render visible what is often invisible—the underlying norms and values that structure human relationships to each other and the material world. Cabbage has long been the quintessential comfort food of China—one that "ordinary" people rely on as a basic staple. In this era of economic change, this value has been both rejected (by the nouveau riche "haves") and reconfirmed (by the struggling poor), drawing out the growing social stratification and moral polarization of the nation. Against the varied backgrounds of this mundane vegetable's particular social contexts, and through his inversion of ordinary practice, Han Bing elicits the articulation of a range of questions, accusations, and challenges from spectators about the gap between past and present values, the nature of "normal" practice, and the ways in which objects in our lives define us and our places in the order of things.
Unlike many artists who were also born in the 70s, Han Bing does not celebrate ambivalent attitudes toward ethics and moral values. On the contrary, he repeatedly emphasizes the significance of human love and care, which seem to constitute the basic utopian vision embedded in his art. His performance photography series Everyday Precious (2001-2006) depicts the interchange between ordinary people and the ordinary objects from their daily lives. In Superfluous Remnants of an Already Backward Modernity: Everyday Precious, No. 2, Han Bing and a row of migrant peasant construction workers stand in front of a halfway demolished building in a snow-covered field; each holds a piece of the quintessential building material used in China's earlier era of industrialization and urbanization: the humble and simple red brick. Behind the ruins of the building, in the hazy and freezing air, stand new high-rises build of concrete, steel and glass. In the image, the rigid bodies of the workers are turned into "living monuments" and uncomfortably placed at the very front of both a past that has been forcefully smashed to pieces, and a rising yet uncertain future. Han Bing clearly draws attention to the bodies of the construction workers, which are positioned in a space where they simultaneously engage in construction and destruction, and yet to which they do not belong. Through a simple visual and bodily structure, the piece illustrates the meaning of existence of marginalized and underprivileged subjects, as well as the existential conditions of those who tenaciously struggle and dream about a legitimated space in the city. By both visually and discursively addressing the awkward attachment between human subjects and their objects which signify a supposed modernity, Han Bing moves beyond pure self-presentation to emphasize a critical aesthetic revolving around how to make visible the ordinary Chinese, who have been left behind in China's pursuit of "being modern."
Body and Boundaries
Both in his ongoing performance series Mating Season, and his multimedia performance installation series Love in the Age of Big Construction, Han Bing effectively capitalizes on the flexibility and vulnerability of his almost nude and gender-blurring body, aiming to find ways to play with the boundaries that shape the "modern" body. In Mating Season, he eroticizes and caresses different types of objects, such as shoes, shovels, stone, and cotton bedding. Likewise, in his early performance photography, Sexual Fantasies of the Knife: Mating Season, No. 2 (2001), he uses his naked body to animate a rusty kitchen knife, one of the few objects that he owned when he migrated to Beijing. His performance displays a form of fetishism stuck somewhere between pain and pleasure, as the fragile body passionately tames and consoles the cold object, yearning for reciprocation, allegorizing his solitude and alienation, from a world afflicted with a deficiency of love, through physical contact between the living body and lifeless things, thus traversing the boundary between body and object.
In his performance Love in the Age of Big Construction II (2006), Han Bing continues to explore the "other shore of desire" in this paradoxical process of "modernization. Constructing a site in the ruins of an abandoned building, he decorates a brick wedding "bed" with white cotton from Chinese bedding, fluffy like clouds. Under the canopy of the bed, for three hours, he repeatedly and almost ritualistically "strokes, kisses and caresses,¬ and sleeps with" the enormous steel claw of a backhoe—a quintessential machine of both destruction and construction. He juxtaposes his performance with his video Age of Big Construction, featuring ghostly images projected onto and behind his body that show the uncertain and fast-changing realities of China. He employs, as art critic Maya Kóvskaya has described it, "a dialectic of antinomies to create a space for overcoming." The "softness of the bed of cotton," for instance, "is used to overcome the hardness of the machine, weightless clouds to hold up tons of steel, sensuality to overcome the numbed mechanization of contemporary times, Eros to tame the Death drive, seduction to overcome violation, and feminine generativity to overcome masculine destructivity."
In his performative ceremonies of offering and finding love, which play with on forms of dichotomies, Han Bing's corporeal repetition tests the endurance and stamina of the human body, and ultimately asks the provocative question: How can a life-affirming and boundary-opening body, while preserving its own ethics, negotiate the impersonal violence imposed by China's frantic rush toward urban "modernity"?

Aperçus on Chinese Contemporary Art by Maya Kóvskaya
"Modulating Space:" Negotiating the Balance Between Aesthetic and Semantic
2 February, 2006
Galleria Continua Beijing follows its spectacular Chen Zhen solo exhibition, Transexperience, with Daniel Buren's latest in situ installations, in which the "modulation of space" itself replaces the traditional "art object." Buren's strengths are most pronounced in his use of colored plexiglass filters and mirrors, which he "installs in space," shifting both the gaze of the spectator and decentering the body in relation to the space created by his "architectural instruments." The exhibition's most important contribution is its reminder of the aesthetic possibilities in space as an object of artistic mediation itself.
Since Buren began, in the 70s, to use a variety of surfaces ranging from street signs, flags, staircases, doors, and even clothing as the site for his explorations, space—and public space in particular—has been an important element in his work. This concern makes this exhibition in the People's Republic particularly salient, for the "modulation" of public space through conceptual art is currently one of the most exciting aspects of contemporary art in China. In contrast to Chinese artists who engage public space in their work, space for Buren, seems more aesthetic than social, more abstract than concretely grounded in the vicissitudes of everyday life that is animating some of China's finest emerging artists. For this reason, the Buren exhibition offers an important opportunity for dialogue about the relationship between the semantic and the aesthetic.
Indeed, against the backdrop of the Chinese state's official monopoly on legitimate expression within the public sphere, the meaning of "modulating space" is takes on quite a different hue in the Chinese context. Works by performance artists and conceptual photographers such as Di Naizhuang, Zhu Fadong, Zhang Huan and Han Bing address the question of "modulating space" from a different direction and with varying effects.
In his work on resistance and everyday practice, Michel de Certeau makes a useful distinction between strategy and tactic that is directly related to space. Strategy is that which is directed at long-term ends and is predicated on dominating a given territory or space continuum. For those without autonomous spaces, tactics are the moment-to-moment moves that the relatively powerless make to evade the domination of the powerful who occupy the terrain on which the powerless must move. Strategy then, is the means of the hegemonic power, whereas tactic, in de Certeau's view, is the means of guerrilla resistance, in its struggle to create what Hakim Bey called "temporary autonomous zones," or what philosopher Hannah Arendt called "spaces of appearance"—spaces where selves, meanings and alternative visions of a "good life" can be performatively constituted through word and deed, embodying ways of doing and being that are not legislated by double-headed hydra of the hegemonic state and global capital.
The importance of art that creates "alternative public spaces," in which critical and counter-hegemonic visions of being in the world can be manifested and embodied, then, is nothing less than critical. Certain works of Chinese performance art and conceptual photography, in particular, are noteworthy for their attempts to engage members of society in the production of the artwork and use public space to insert the questions raised by contemporary art into the larger social field.
Forerunners include Di Naizhuang and Zhu Fadong, who vary in terms of the balance between the semantic and the aesthetic. From 1992-1997 Di Naizhuang sold tens of thousands of red umbrellas across the country. This piece, entitled "Fame"—"Zou Hong" in Chinese is a clever play on characters that literally mean "walking red" but denotes ascent to fame—drew attention in the art scene for its large-scale presence, but is was unclear whether the practice of purchasing and carrying his red umbrellas meant anything different to these consumers from the purchase and use of any other commodity. If the red umbrellas had no special meaning for the consumers whose participation was an integral part of this "installation/performance art work," its social significance is rendered opaque at best.
Reflecting on the plight of the self in the context of China's dizzying whirlwind of socio-economic change, performance artist Zhu Fadong posted a "Missing Person" ads seeking himself in Kunming, Yunnan, in 1993. Likewise, however, aside from a small group of artists, it is unclear whether other viewers of the piece had any idea this wasn't simply a genuine missing persons ad. 1994, he followed with a more obviously interactive piece. "This Person is for Sale, Price Negotiable," advertising the sale of himself on his clothing, and walking around Beijing. While the former piece falls short in communicating its a pointed semantic intension, latter is rather thin in the aesthetic dimension.
For works that engage the broader society, the inclusiveness (not to be confused with accessibility) of art and dynamics of reception become a constitutive element in the work. Use or consumption becomes what de Certeau calls a secondary form of production. Meaning is bi-directionally constituted, and the authorial voice is not absolutely authoritative, but rather, its function (and by extension, the function of the artwork itself) is heuristic.
Art that directly involves its subjects in its production, then, is an art that contains potent possibilities for such bi-directional meaning production. Works of Zhang Huan and Han Bing stand out among those who engage public space in this way, combining the semantic with a strong aesthetic component that is captured through composed performance photography (which should be differentiated from the varied and sundry snapshots of performances that are often taken on the fly with little consideration for questions of composition, etc.).
During his Beijing East Village days in the mid-nineties, employing his distinctive aesthetic sensibility, Zhang Huan engaged public space with performances, many of which were documented by gifted photographers such as Rongrong. In Twelve Square Meters he smeared squid ink and honey on his body and sat in a filth-encrusted public toilet until his body was crawling with flies, thus indexically and critically instantiating the nature the conditions in which so many Chinese live. This dramatic, aestheticized performance, did more than merely "re-present" local conditions, it embodied them in a manner that emphasized certain ontological basics. The flies covering his body were not a mere simulacra of actual sanitary conditions—hordes of them were already on site at the time of the performance—they were the hyperbolic instantiation of the reality itself, on which Zhang Huan used the congregation of flies on his body to comment.
Zhang Huan's classic Raising the Level of a Fishpond, is a seminal example of the "modulation of space" through performance. Inviting local migrant peasant laborers to join him in displacing water in a fishpond, the artist not only allowed migrant laborers to symbolically represented their own social status in contemporary China—as much displaced by the changes remaking China that drove them from their farm land to the cities, as displacers, competing with one another for low-paying, and often hazardous employment—but also offered a symbolic ablution for these migrants who are decried by the dominant urban society as dirty, low-quality, and without culture. As they entered the water, raising its level infinitesimally and yet definitely, with each step, their limited yet genuine power to alter the conditions of their existence expressed itself in the rising water margins.
Han Bing's ongoing performance photography series Everyday Precious (2001-present) both reconstitutes public space through participatory performance art and creates permanent moments of alternative public space through photography. Bringing ordinary Chinese who have been left behind in China's charge toward modernization (such as peasants, laborers, peddlers, beggars, and other marginalized subjects) into his performances, Han Bing creates a visual and discursive space in which the conditions of their existence and their positionality in relation to modernization are visually and spatially positioned. In Facing the Future with My Family: Everyday Precious No. 1, Han Bing, who hails from a tiny village in Jiangsu province, stands with his family members in front of a modest peasant home made of red bricks. Each family member, from the smallest child, to the oldest grandparent, hefts a brick in hand as they look ahead apprehensively towards an uncertain a future, offering their hands in the building of it.
In Superfluous Remnants of an Already Backward Modernity: Everyday Precious, No. 2, a row of migrant peasant construction workers, inadequately clothed against the harsh Beijing winter, stand in the snow holding their bricks before a half-way demolished brick building, behind which towers a gleaming steel, glass and concrete construction. During the 80s, when brick was the coveted construction material that promised rural families (i.e. most of China) a chance to move from their homes of stones, mud and straw bricks and into "modern" dwellings, bricks were a symbol of prosperity, hope and "modernity" in all its inflated glory. But before most of rural China has had the chance to finish moving into modernity, the lowly red brick has been outmoded as "backward," inferior construction material. Now "modern" people live in steel, glass, and concrete high-rises, and bricks are discarded as refuse, only to be recycled by people on the margins, who haul them away with mule-carts, still hoping for a chance at a modernity that hardly had a chance to be.
In his latest conceptual photography series, Urban Amber, Han Bing fuses the aesthetic with the semantic, using the ubiquitous "stinky" rivers that criss-cross China's urban centers, as a mirror of modernizing China. In these rivers are choked with garbage and foul with industrial waste, he captures the reflections of glamorous, upscale high-rises, in juxtaposition to the crude falling-down shanty-town "ping fang" dwellings of the local poor, that still exist (often literally) in the shadows of these new "dream homes." Just as amber captures, in perpetuity, the objects of a given era, these "stinky rivers" are urban amber for this era of reckless construction, desperate hopes for a better life, and often futile fantasies of escape from unfortunate lives assigned by birth and social status. The photographs of these inverted dreamscapes are at once ethereal and heavy with the sediment of time, and they encapsulate a new dimension of public space—a space of contrast and juxtaposition, in which it is only through the distorting ripples of polluted water that we can see clearly who we really are. Like Buren's use of colored filters to "modulate space," Han Bing uses these rivers of refuse, which abundantly accompany China's drive for modernization, as the filters that show us the true colors of the waste-products our dreams.
Light and shadow, open space and barriers, movement and constraint, the full flush of color and emptiness of absence—Daniel Buren's in situ installations on exhibit at Galleria Continua raise a series of questions apposite to a Chinese contemporary art that also "modulates space" in order to interrogate and perhaps alter conditions of human existence. What is the proper balance between the aesthetic and the semantic? How much of art should be about life, or even more so, for life, and how much should be for sensual and aesthetic stimulation? The boundaries are blurred as ever, and the answer to these questions as contentious. And so, as long as the dialogue continues, this contentiousness is certainly something to celebrate.
© 2006 Maya Kóvskaya, All Rights Reserved.

Han Bing's Erotic PerformanceMar 24, 2010
By Ernie, www.chinaexpat.com
Sexual Fantasies of the Knife
Ready for some titillation? Sorry, there's plenty of that on the internet without China Expat chipping in. Oh, now you're judging the suspiciously androgynous figure in the photo above. Fair enough. But do know that's Han Bing, a pioneering artist exposing us to ourselves by exposing himself - in India, no less, where urbanization churns up as much chaos as it does in China.
Last Friday, Han Bing drew a huge New Delhi crowd with a public erotic performance, clad only in a loin cloth and going to second base with construction rubble and building tools. Six Indian migrant construction workers were recruited, similarly attired like Tarzan, to hold romantic poses with construction equipment nearby.
If it reeks of exploitation, Han Bing himself grew up hand to mouth in a Jiangsu ghetto, and spent the day before learning their life stories, and telling them his own to draw them into a sense of living narrative. If it reeks of cheap publicity stunt, the performance is called Dreams of Lost Homes, the inauguration of Love in the Time of Big Construction, itself Bing's half of a dual exhibition with renegade artist Tejal Shah called A Cry from the Narrow Between.
Han's erotic act is the continuation of Mating Season, a series he has nurtured since 2001. While most of us see our old environments smashed and re-formed, shrug, then go on earning enough money to buy enough shiny things to deserve love, Han challenges us to reflect on our shifting values, and explore the connection between what we think is acceptable and shocking, real and fake, what we sacrifice of the spiritual by slipping along unreflectively in our material culture.
New Delhi's people face construction chaos as disruptive as any that may be found in Beijing or Shanghai, but their response to the performance went over smoother than it may have in the latter two cities, where scantily clad men canoodling with inanimate objects would meet much more Confucian resistance.
After viewing the performance, fruit vendor Sukhwinder Tiwary commented, "I am strangely aroused, touched, and spiritually moved." Surely Han can consider the piece a success if those outside the narrow circle of art cognoscenti get it. "I understand the message against violent urbanization, alienation, problems of migration and demolition in big cities that the artist is trying to convey. I too am a migrant to the city," said Tiwary.
Han Bing's Erotic Performance
An admittedly well-worn contemporary Chinese art genre, the perils of modernization has its boldest statement yet from Han Bing, who eroticizes tools of manual labor and the dregs of construction to represent the human cost of urbanization.
Obviously, sexual mores are up for inspection as well in Han's work, while such inspection is the main theme of Tejal Shah's half of the exhibition. In fact, ‘A Cry from the Narrow Between' draws its title from a poem by the ancient Greek, lesbian poet Sappho, for whom the "narrow between" is the fraught boundary dividing life and death, and the unbearable, unshakable state of limbo experienced in the throes of transgressive love. Her contribution offers a framework for investigating the relationship between what Freud called "Eros and the Death Drive"
"I developed the narrative from a human rights report put together by the People`s Union for Civil Liberties in Karnataka," said Shah, whose work is the first in the capital to explore sexual violence and alternative sexuality.
Shah has photographed Laxmi, a hijra, or Indian transsexual, and human rights activist based in Mumbai who has always desired to be portrayed as Cleopatra.
Southern Siren - Maheshwari is also about a hijra named Maheshwari in Mumbai, who wanted to dress up as a South Indian film star and see herself in a song and dance sequence, romancing the hero and being romanced by him in return.
In You too can touch the moon - Yashoda with Krishna, another hijra named Malini temporarily fulfills her desire to be a mother through the medium of Raja Ravi Varma's painting Yashoda with Krishna as a reference point.
Shah's graphic visuals of sexual violence and delving into the transgender realm, segues into other work with people in the shadows, marginalized by modern forces, such as an instillation based on an Israeli soldier's testimony of bull-dozing a Palestinian neighborhood. Her themes are all too relevant for China. Although obviously not what both countries' Ministries of Culture would choose for a China-India art event, Han and Shah are doing their part to forge cross-cultural understanding at the outer fringes.

Together with Migrants:
Chinese Contemporary Art and Social Criticism
By Nathaniel M. Stevens
18 June, 2006 Beijing
Hundreds of migrant laborers packed the exhibition hall at Jianwai SOHO provided by culture savvy real estate magnate Pan Shiyi. Many dressed in their finest attire, especially the young ones, who aimed to show the assembled hordes of media at the UNESCO "Together with Migrants" Festival, that "mingong" (the common term for migrant "peasant-workers") have style and dignity just like any other social group. Curated by Zhu Qi, one of China's most pioneering, risk-taking critic/curators, the "China's Happiness and Pain" exhibition, provided a visual compliment to the series of cultural events surrounding the festival that included public debates, poetry readings, and even musical performances by migrants. The contemporary art exhibition featured prominent Chinese artists including Cang Xin, Zhang Xinmin, Chang Qing, Zheng Dongying, Zhu Yan, Zhang Jianhua, Ah Qing, Hu Jie, Han Bing and Japanese artist Wan Li.
Wan Li, who hails from Tokyo, but lives and works in Shanghai, offered a pages of a 3D fiberglass, newspaper—The Migrant Worker's Daily—with powerful quotidian images from daily work and life, including on-the-job injury, depicted in this make-believe newspaper. "The scenes I depicted are real events," Wan Li explains, "but there is no Migrant Worker's Daily to speak to the everyday concerns of this group. I thought that such a large population, so critical to China's development and 'modernization,' should have a space of their own."
Documentary video art by Hu Jie, displayed the living and working conditions of mine-workers in China with gritty pathos. When he shot the film, he encountered numerous obstacles raised by officialdom anxious about the muckraking effects of his work, but when the video made it to the upper echelons of power, the central government began to take the plight of mine-workers seriously, and the dangers of their profession are now a much discussed topic in the mass media.
The most controversial part of the exhibition was the collection of fiberglass sculptures by Zhang Jianhua. Some were well-received by the migrants who attended, such as the Village Head sculpture. Others, such as depictions on beggars groveling for spare change, and homeless migrants with exaggeratedly ugly, and even mentally retarded features, became the topic of much discussion among migrants and other spectators alike about the nature and effect of the stereotypes circulating in the dominant society.
"Stirring up impassioned public debate is one of the functions contemporary art should perform," relates Zhu Qi. "I am especially pleased to hear migrants commenting on the works and engaging the wider public in discussions about their place in society."
"For me," relates Liu Jun, one of the migrants who participated in the New Culture Movement performance art piece orchestrated by artist Han Bing, "the best part of this whole event was being able to be a part of making art."
"I didn't know there were people who made art about ordinary people like us," said Zhu Lei, a Sichuanese migrant who also took part in the performance. "I thought art was something for people with culture, so I was happy to learn that there are artists who think we have culture too."
When Han Bing asked migrants to take bricks in hand and make themselves into living monuments to the New Culture Movement—a burgeoning culture of construction and modernization (in contrast to the original New Culture Movement at the beginning of the 20th century, that heralded the rise of literacy and the value of book-learning in China— he was asking them to manifest the dignity of their labor in public and reclaim their contributions to China's "modernization," contributions the urban society often denigrates. Not one migrant asked why they should pick up bricks. They understood precisely what the red brick symbolizes, in all its ironic complexities: "Bricks are hope," said migrant worker Zhou Rui. "Maybe no one in the city wants bricks anymore, but for us they still have value." "We can use them to build a home for our families, a home that's better than the mud and straw we had to use before."
The New Culture Movement (2001-2006), is an ongoing, nationwide performance photography series by Han Bing, who is one of the few Chinese contemporary artists to hail from a poor rural village. The piece comments on the paradoxes of China's "modernization" process, which has been swept up in a frenzy of pell-mell urban construction—construction that is undertaken by rural migrant laborers who build glamorous gated communities, and gleaming high-rises of steel, glass and concrete, in which they will not only never live, but are also not welcome to visit. In the 80s, being modern meant yearning for a modest house of bricks. Now bricks have been deemed substandard, outmoded materials and are prohibited for use in urban construction, but back in the countryside, where the vast majority of China's population is still rural and still poor, the best that the sweat and toil of the migrants working in the cities can bring is a simple brick construction back home. There is a powerful poignancy to these images of laborers, families and even schoolchildren with bricks in hand like little red books, maintaining their tenacious dreams of making a place for themselves in a society that refuses to acknowledge their worth or contributions.

新闻周刊:长城上"遛白菜",新锐艺术这样表现中国
中国网 | 时间: 2006-11-21 | 文章来源: 青年参考
美国《新闻周刊》11月20日文章:在长城上“遛白菜”——中国新锐艺术这样表现中国(Jessica Au/文 黄义务/编译)
漫步在拥挤的天安门广场,你也许会与牵着一棵白菜遛达的韩冰不期而遇。韩冰的大白菜不仅出现在天安门广场,他还“遛”着它登上长城,漫步于度假胜地秦皇岛海滩,徜徉在苏州田园诗般的村落。“遛白菜”是他对中国疯狂的现代化及狂热物质迷恋的一种尖锐批评。
韩冰属于中国新一代的艺术家。这些艺术家寻求以一种全新而震撼的方式,来解读他们国家的经济繁荣,去展现一个多元化的中国社会。“中国的年轻艺术家们已有信心去诠释一个全新的中国。”当代艺术商迈克尔•古德海斯说。
全世界都痴迷于中国当代艺术品。去年,索斯比拍卖行与克里斯蒂拍卖行总共卖出了价值超过2.1亿美元的亚洲当代艺术品,其中绝大多数是中国 艺术家的作品。上月克里斯蒂举行的一场当代艺术拍卖会上,由绘画新秀曾传兴于2006年创作的一幅肖像画引起疯狂竞拍,这幅描绘一位年轻新娘穿着纸睡衣的 油画,最终以16.48万英镑成交——是拍卖行最初估价的7倍多。
但中国火爆的艺术市场与日渐走高的国际声望背后,却潜藏着危机。重要的一点在于,越来越多的艺术家只为钱而创作。“现在,我的学生将绘画创作与商业价值直接挂钩。”北京画家余陈说,“我年轻时,这两者完全分离。第一代艺术家们画画不是为了钱。”
艺术家与画廊也想趁机大捞一笔,他们对市场亦步亦趋,复制那些效益可观的作品。如果毛泽东的头像或肖像有市场,他们也会去画。长期关注中国 当代艺术的布赖恩•华莱士说,短期来看这也许有利可图,但对中国当代艺术的发展却是灾难性的。他指出,如今艺术界已完全不同于5年前。“虽然陈列的画作让 人眼花缭乱,但要找到真正有才华的画家,却难上加难。”他说,“许多艺术家追随的是商业成功模式。”
但即便如此,这也折射了时代特征。今天,艺术家们描绘和反映了中国多样而不成熟的艺术市场。他们自身就扮演着一个重要角色。“我不会关心市场,我也不认为我的行为艺术能给生活中的那些重大问题提供答案。”本月下旬将“遛”着白菜横穿美国加利福尼亚州的韩冰说,“但它必定会引发公众去深思。”在当今这个飞速发 展、瞬息万变的中国,需要我们思考的确实不少。
中国网 | 时间: 2006-11-21 | 文章来源: 青年参考
曼切斯特第一届亚洲艺术三年展
Nathaniel M. Stevens / 文
刘岩/ 译
本届三年展针对全球化在急剧变动的亚洲世界的区域性转型、本地建构与消化提出思考。以装置、摄影、公共互动行为、绘画、录像多媒体等形式,呈现亚洲当代艺术之于本地化的自我与反驳,之于现代性的自主与资本批判。
被邀请的中国艺 术家陈劭雄,韩冰,邱暗雄分别以多屏幕录像作品对现代化的欲望现实提出质疑,令人动容的唯美和伤感贯穿于三位中国艺术家作品当中对自然传统遭遇现代文明的 现实批判和思考。陈劭雄的多屏幕水墨录像作品以及他的指纹绘画——那个在今日中国人和英国人合作的指纹下朦胧远去的圆明园所印证的陈年旧伤让这种沉淀的历 史记忆在现实思考中显得既冷静而又迷茫;邱暗雄的三屏动画“新山海经”以唯美的动画述说着自然意境在人类社会发展之中的不断解体,幽默而尖锐地对欲望无度 的人类当代生产提出批判。
韩冰的三屏幕录像作品“遛白菜日记”纪录的是一个农村青年用链子遛着中国大白菜周游世界八年的故事。夹杂着异样婉伤的青春日记把无业青年成长的个体命运的 变迁与中国社会的变迁纠缠在一起,极度日常的游戏生活让人怀疑现代物质世界的文明诉求和社会生活的寻常秩序。韩冰的公共行为计划“遛白菜运动在曼切斯特” 于曼切斯特的雨中开始,英国的流浪汉组织,同性恋组织,残疾人以及其他不同国家的志愿者数百人一起遛着英国大白菜在城市街头和车站散步,这个历时三个小时 流动的集体互动行为让曼切斯特全城为之沸腾。
印度当代艺术极为重要的五位年轻艺术家Shilpa Gupta, Surekha, Shaina Anand, Tejal Shah, Jasmeen Patheja以现实表达的多媒介艺术呈现揭示今日世界的霸权骚扰和传统家庭结构的新冲突;Shilpa Gupta 的装置研究“危险”的社会定义和形成的话语。她把机场安检人员没收的各种各样的被怀疑为“凶器”的物品用白布包起来,因此把此物品的性质即 蒙蔽了又统一化了,同时把它们换回到无辜的状态。在旁边,在灯光下的一个麦克风播放艺术家唱的儿歌:“把手举起来。。。。”
Surekha在录像装置“火与天空之间”低头跳格子的游戏试图对从少女到所谓女人的有时会发抖的心灵发出讯号,是在成长期面对成人的危险心理状态的疏离和缓解。
Tejal Shah 的录像装置与摆拍摄影的作品以张力与观念的挑战呈现当下的跨性别文化与自我塑造。她的摄影用真实的男成女变性或跨性别的人与传统印度大片的男子汉明星一起 扮演浪漫的场景,图象执意打破老套对浪漫和性别角色的常规。她的双屏录像装置用丰富的视觉语言表达跨性别人的美丽、人性、二队作为自己内心的人物的渴望。
Shaina Anand 的社会介入性的录像计划通过对英国本地的“公共安全摄像头”的反拍摄, 探讨公民对生活空间在公共安全之中的公共侵犯与私密权利的矛盾。Jasmeen Patheja作品是一些有被性骚扰经历的女人一起完成的多媒体文本艺术。有被性骚扰的经历的艺术家本人带领那些在男性社会欲求中伤痕累累的印度女人抵 抗,公开那令人窒息的被剥削的内心,幻想从受尽折磨的女性意识和可悲的大男子主义的合谋下解放出来。
韩国艺术家Gwon Osang以曼切斯特当地人为模本的照片雕塑作品,Choe U-ram的铁花开合,新加坡P-10小组Woon Tien Wei, Jennifer Teo, Jeremy Chu, Kai Lam,以多媒体装置互动作品探讨本土化的全球化语境;台湾Channel_A小组Hongjohn Lin 和Ella Raidel以及香港等地的艺术家的多媒体装置作品各自从不同角度展现了亚洲当代艺术的能量。

Newsweek Magazine
China’s Art Factory
Nov 19, 2006
Wander through Beijing's crowded Tiananmen Square and you may come across Han Bing walking a cabbage on a leash. Han's cabbage is not a one-act vegetable; it's walked on the Great Wall, along the beach at the resort town of Qinhuangdao, and in the idyllic village of Suzhou. "Walking the Cabbage"—like all the works by Han, a performance artist—is a pointed commentary on China's rush to modernize and its captive embrace of rampant materialism. "I want people to see how much of our daily lives are routines that we've blindly absorbed," says the 31-year-old graduate of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, China's top art school.
Han is part of a new generation of Chinese artists seeking novel and vibrant ways to make sense of their country's economic boom. They are rejecting the political pop imagery and satirical portraits of Mao that propelled their predecessors into the global spotlight, instead choosing to present China as a pluralistic, capitalistic society. Products of the go-go generation, these twenty- and thirtysomething artists are too young to remember the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution. Nor have they had to live in fear of being persecuted or imprisoned for their art, like many of their creative forebears, including Zhang Xiaogang and Wang Guangyi. "China's young creators have gained the self-confidence to express a brand-new China," says Chinese contemporary art dealer Michael Goedhuis.
And the world is eating it up. Last year Sotheby's and Christie's together sold more than $210 million worth of contemporary Asian, predominantly Chinese, art—a record sum for both auction houses. At a contemporary-art sale at Christie's London last month, a 2006 portrait by newcomer Zeng Chuanxing of a young bride dressed in a paper gown attracted ferocious bidding, eventually bringing the hammer down at £164,800—more than seven times the auction house's estimate. "We had close to 30 people on the line competing for Zeng's piece," says Pilar Ordovas, a specialist in Chinese contemporary art at Christie's. "It just had such a universal appeal."
Art critics and gallery owners agree that China's young artists are addressing unexplored social themes—including the greedy consumerism of post-Tiananmen China. Greater openness and the spread of technology mean that photography, video and performance art are also quickly becoming accepted mediums for China's multimedia "click, click" generation, just as they are for contemporary artists the world over. Photographer Yang Yong's saturated portraits of bored urban youth hang in galleries from London to New York. "The vapidness of urban life is very much a dominant imagery in the works by younger artists," says the editor of Art Asia Pacific magazine, Elaine Ng. "It's very reflective of what's going on in China now."
Other artists come at this theme from a different angle; Cui Xiuwen's paintings depict a wounded schoolgirl in the Forbidden City, whose glazed eyes hint at lost innocence and isolation in the bustle of contemporary China. China's burgeoning art scene has much to do with the country's growing liberalization, which has allowed visual arts, in particular, greater freedom of expression. And Cao Fei, 28, recently won the best-young-artist award from Uli Sigg, the world's biggest collector of Chinese contemporary art, for her schizophrenic video "Chain Reaction," which shows actors dressed in medical garb performing mechanical movements.
But there are distinct drawbacks to China's scorching art market and growing international reputation. For one thing, more and more artists are getting into it strictly for the money. "My students now make direct links in their heads between the commercial aspects of painting and learning it as an art form," says Beijing artist Yu Chen, known for her portraits of babies dressed in Red Army uniforms, who has been teaching sketching at the Central Academy for more than 20 years. "When I was younger, the two were very separate. The first generation of artists didn't paint for money."
Indeed, there is so much cash to be made that some parents are pushing their children into art rather than engineering or law. Competition is fierce; for the current academic year, the Central Academy received more than 20,000 applicants. Still, only about 500 students managed to pass the stringent two-day entrance exams, which include a four-hour practical exam, a written theory test and an English test, on top of having to submit samples of their previous work. "If a young person wants to become an artist in China nowadays, all they have to do is show their father the latest Sotheby's report," says Johnson Chang, owner of Hong Kong's HanArt TZ Gallery.
Artists and galleries are also trying to cash in on the boom by slavishly reproducing what they think is the recipe for a successful sale. If big heads or images of Mao are selling well, then that's what they'll paint and display. This might make sense in the short run, but could spell disaster for the future of Chinese contemporary art, says longtime observer Brian Wallace, who has been running Beijing's Red Gate Gallery since 1991. He notes that the art scene today is very different from that of five years ago. "With so much exposure, it's getting harder to find real talent," he says. "A lot of artists follow a formula for commercial success."
Still, even that is a sign of the times. Just as trends like "Scar Painting," which addressed the painful memories of the Cultural Revolution, and "Cynical Realism," which mocked the uniformity of communist politics and culture, dominated the art scene in the late '70s and early '90s, respectively, today's artists both depict and mirror China's increasingly diverse and fragmented marketplace. They're also fulfilling an important role. "I don't believe that my performance art supplies answers to life's big questions," says Han, who will be walking his cabbage across California later this month. "But it can certainly raise questions in public, provoking people to think." In today's ever morphing, forward-racing China, there is clearly plenty to think about.
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Han Bing's Erotic Performance
Mar 24, 2010
By Ernie, www.chinaexpat.com
Ready for some titillation? Sorry, there's plenty of that on the internet without China Expat chipping in. Oh, now you're judging the suspiciously androgynous figure in the photo above. Fair enough. But do know that's Han Bing, a pioneering artist exposing us to ourselves by exposing himself - in India, no less, where urbanization churns up as much chaos as it does in China.
Last Friday, Han Bing drew a huge New Delhi crowd with a public erotic performance, clad only in a loin cloth and going to second base with construction rubble and building tools. Six Indian migrant construction workers were recruited, similarly attired like Tarzan, to hold romantic poses with construction equipment nearby.
If it reeks of exploitation, Han Bing himself grew up hand to mouth in a Jiangsu ghetto, and spent the day before learning their life stories, and telling them his own to draw them into a sense of living narrative. If it reeks of cheap publicity stunt, the performance is called Dreams of Lost Homes, the inauguration of Love in the Time of Big Construction, itself Bing's half of a dual exhibition with renegade artist Tejal Shah called A Cry from the Narrow Between.
Han's erotic act is the continuation of Mating Season, a series he has nurtured since 2001. While most of us see our old environments smashed and re-formed, shrug, then go on earning enough money to buy enough shiny things to deserve love, Han challenges us to reflect on our shifting values, and explore the connection between what we think is acceptable and shocking, real and fake, what we sacrifice of the spiritual by slipping along unreflectively in our material culture.
New Delhi's people face construction chaos as disruptive as any that may be found in Beijing or Shanghai, but their response to the performance went over smoother than it may have in the latter two cities, where scantily clad men canoodling with inanimate objects would meet much more Confucian resistance.
After viewing the performance, fruit vendor Sukhwinder Tiwary commented, "I am strangely aroused, touched, and spiritually moved." Surely Han can consider the piece a success if those outside the narrow circle of art cognoscenti get it. "I understand the message against violent urbanization, alienation, problems of migration and demolition in big cities that the artist is trying to convey. I too am a migrant to the city," said Tiwary.
Han Bing's Erotic Performance
An admittedly well-worn contemporary Chinese art genre, the perils of modernization has its boldest statement yet from Han Bing, who eroticizes tools of manual labor and the dregs of construction to represent the human cost of urbanization.
Obviously, sexual mores are up for inspection as well in Han's work, while such inspection is the main theme of Tejal Shah's half of the exhibition. In fact, ‘A Cry from the Narrow Between' draws its title from a poem by the ancient Greek, lesbian poet Sappho, for whom the "narrow between" is the fraught boundary dividing life and death, and the unbearable, unshakable state of limbo experienced in the throes of transgressive love. Her contribution offers a framework for investigating the relationship between what Freud called "Eros and the Death Drive"
"I developed the narrative from a human rights report put together by the People`s Union for Civil Liberties in Karnataka," said Shah, whose work is the first in the capital to explore sexual violence and alternative sexuality.
Shah has photographed Laxmi, a hijra, or Indian transsexual, and human rights activist based in Mumbai who has always desired to be portrayed as Cleopatra.
Southern Siren - Maheshwari is also about a hijra named Maheshwari in Mumbai, who wanted to dress up as a South Indian film star and see herself in a song and dance sequence, romancing the hero and being romanced by him in return.
In You too can touch the moon - Yashoda with Krishna, another hijra named Malini temporarily fulfills her desire to be a mother through the medium of Raja Ravi Varma's painting Yashoda with Krishna as a reference point.
Shah's graphic visuals of sexual violence and delving into the transgender realm, segues into other work with people in the shadows, marginalized by modern forces, such as an instillation based on an Israeli soldier's testimony of bull-dozing a Palestinian neighborhood. Her themes are all too relevant for China. Although obviously not what both countries' Ministries of Culture would choose for a China-India art event, Han and Shah are doing their part to forge cross-cultural understanding at the outer fringes.

Beyond Experience: The New China - Luna Fenichel
September / October 2006
Curated by Zhu Qi, one of China's premier critic/curators, the multimedia “Beyond Empire” exhibition at Arario Beijing promises to be a holistic highpoint in 2006, with over 30 prominent and emerging Chinese artists. The show revolves around questions of the changing nature of the "New China" as cities are torn down and rebuilt almost overnight and social identities are thrown into flux, the nouveau riche strut their vice in public like ostentatious peacocks and urban youth, in a move so vacant, hit the streets in search of anything that can arouse them from boredom and emptiness. No one wants to talk about idealism, spiritual things or the fate of the soul. It is “money, honey,” that makes the world go round—material disgust or unadulterated lust alike. A few of the highlights from the exhibition approach these questions from a variety of directions.
Chen Qingqing's installation, The Big Happy Camp, captures the multivalent themes of this exhibition in a microcosm. Her work appears colorful and lively on the surface, but sobering insights lurk beneath her whimsical surfaces. In her characteristic expressive language, Qingqing spins symbolic constellations of imagery—a dinosaur hunches down over a fiberglass phallus sprouting purple feathers as if in devious consultation, dismembered arms of plastic dollies reach, grasping from a computer keyboard on which there are no letters, hybrid creatures try to worm their way into the labyrinth of pipes threading their way through the cabinet and a pig steers the cannon of his tank in search of action.
Among the numerous works on canvas, painting by promising newcomer Li Jikai, whose images of a disaffected child, involving scenes of going to the bathroom, vomiting and self-mutilation, are rendered endearing, even cute.
The gifted Guanzhou prodigy Cao Fei—whose Cosplayers captivates with the contrast between the role-playing fantasy identities of young Chinese "costume players" and their everyday roles in family life—shows her recent work, a performance captured on video. Chronicles of the PRD Anti-Heroes is a cabaret-style take on the unsung, and perhaps unwashed, local heroes of hardscrabble everyday life who've fallen through the cracks in the New China, and resorted to making their own "alternative order."
Photography highlights include new works by aesthetic master Hong Lei, who uses his characteristic appropriation of classical forms to render contemporary subjects, such as the Three Gorges Dam, which has caused as much massive displacement and disruption of human lives as it has earned national glory for its engineering prowess.
A trio of works from Han Bing's “Everyday Precious” series bring the paradoxes of China's modernization into sharp relief. In this trio of photographs, he uses bricks as an instrument of subtle social criticism. Bricks, which were everyday symbols of modernity in the 80s, now signify backwardness to urban society in China. In the cities since the late 90s, brick structures have been razed en mass to make way for glass, steel and concrete high-rises, yet, ironically, most of rural China has just begun to scrape together the resources to move from gray brick homes of mud, straw and stone into red brick houses that they often built by hand. In Superfluous Remnants of An Already Backward Modernity: Everyday Precious, No. 2, the rural migrant workers who spent the frigid winter in Beijing demolishing brick buildings—without gloves or warm coats and, eventually, without pay—so their families back home could afford to
build with bricks—the refuse of urban development—know this irony all too well.
The opening ceremony of the exhibition features Love in the Age of Big Construction III, a multimedia performance installation by Han Bing, investigating the human costs of China's frantic rush toward urban modernity. Male migrant workers, in their hardhats and underwear, curl in sleep around heaps of bricks. Everyone seems to be dreaming the same halcyon dreams; those of home, material comforts, a space of one's own, a glorious future and a mighty, wealthy nation. Dreams that are also mostly out of reach since the gap between rich and poor expands with a vengeance. A swarm of iridescent bubbles undulate as they ride the currents of the air, only to shimmer and burst. The artist, who can best be described as pan-gendered (not sexless and androgynous, but hyper-trans-sexy in a way that exudes a heady mix of gender trouble), "sleeps with," strokes, kisses and caresses the massive steel clawed arm of a backhoe—a machine of modern construction and demolition—on a bed made of concrete and steel girders that create the semblance of the bare frame of a house. In the background flicker video images of construction, destruction and human toil from the artist's video Age of Big Construction. Playing upon the interplay of opposites, he uses the warm softness of his flesh to seduce and tame the hardness of cold, man-made steel, and life-affirming Eros to ameliorate the impersonal violence of China's modernization.(Jessica Au)
The Other Shore of Desire: Han Bing on Modernization and
Marginalization
ZHUANG JIA
Multidisciplinary Chinese artist Han Bing employs various artistic languages and media such as performance, multimedia installations, and photography to investigate and problematize modernization in China today. His memories of the poor rural village where he grew up, and of his early days as an artist in Beijing, interweave with his anxieties about the rapid changes in China's cities as they undergo the wrenching processes of modernization, urbanization, and globalization. His works capture the most poignant and paradoxical moments of the Chinese common people, both rural migrants and urbanites alike, as they are inextricably involved in the "Chinese dream" and the dramatic, if not devastating, urban transformation of the nation.
Han Bing examines problems unresolved in the early stages of "modernization," such as the conflict between individual autonomy and ideological constraints. He also grapples with various types of new "capitalistic" problems that have befallen China, such as soaring social inequalities, increasing materialism and consumerism, a collective nihilism, and a lack of human care. Based on his own experience and understanding of the national project of modernization, Han Bing creates works that critically capture what seem like the thorny contradictions of Chinese modernity--the juxtaposition of the marginalized rural population and the urban nouveaux riches, and the overlap of "the developing" and "the developed" within a single spatial-temporal dimension.
A group cabbage-walking "happening" with several professors and a group of students on the UCLA campus in December, 2006, launched the beginning of Han Bing's Walking the Cabbage US tour, which lasted for 3 months. Walking the Cabbage began in 2000, and has since been conducted in public spaces across China—from Han Bing's home village in rural Jiangsu to Tiananmen Square, from the Yunnanese minority village in China's Southwest to the Westernized Bund in Shanghai—across the US—from Hollywood to Manhattan, Miami to Mississippi, Houston to San Francisco—and in March, 2007, onward to Brussels and Paris. This cross-continental ongoing "social intervention" performance piece, challenges conventional notions of "performance" and everyday practice, drawing artist, participants and spectators into an interactive encounter that produces multiple significations, that not only expand restrictive scenarios of representation, but also provoke cogitation over the performative subject(s) and act(s). The performative function of Han Bing's Walking the Cabbage is to render visible what is often invisible—the underlying norms and values that structure human relationships to each other and the material world. Cabbage has long been the quintessential comfort food of China—one that "ordinary" people rely on as a basic staple. In this era of economic change, this value has been both rejected (by the nouveau riche "haves") and reconfirmed (by the struggling poor), drawing out the growing social stratification and moral polarization of the nation. Against the varied backgrounds of this mundane vegetable's particular social contexts, and through his inversion of ordinary practice, Han Bing elicits the articulation of a range of questions, accusations, and challenges from spectators about the gap between past and present values, the nature of "normal" practice, and the ways in which objects in our lives define us and our places in the order of things.
Unlike many artists who were also born in the 70s, Han Bing does not celebrate ambivalent attitudes toward ethics and moral values. On the contrary, he repeatedly emphasizes the significance of human love and care, which seem to constitute the basic utopian vision embedded in his art. His performance photography series Everyday Precious (2001-2006) depicts the interchange between ordinary people and the ordinary objects from their daily lives. In Superfluous Remnants of an Already Backward Modernity: Everyday Precious, No. 2, Han Bing and a row of migrant peasant construction workers stand in front of a halfway demolished building in a snow-covered field; each holds a piece of the quintessential building material used in China's earlier era of industrialization and urbanization: the humble and simple red brick. Behind the ruins of the building, in the hazy and freezing air, stand new high-rises build of concrete, steel and glass. In the image, the rigid bodies of the workers are turned into "living monuments" and uncomfortably placed at the very front of both a past that has been forcefully smashed to pieces, and a rising yet uncertain future. Han Bing clearly draws attention to the bodies of the construction workers, which are positioned in a space where they simultaneously engage in construction and destruction, and yet to which they do not belong. Through a simple visual and bodily structure, the piece illustrates the meaning of existence of marginalized and underprivileged subjects, as well as the existential conditions of those who tenaciously struggle and dream about a legitimated space in the city. By both visually and discursively addressing the awkward attachment between human subjects and their objects which signify a supposed modernity, Han Bing moves beyond pure self-presentation to emphasize a critical aesthetic revolving around how to make visible the ordinary Chinese, who have been left behind in China's pursuit of "being modern."
Body and Boundaries
Both in his ongoing performance series Mating Season, and his multimedia performance installation series Love in the Age of Big Construction, Han Bing effectively capitalizes on the flexibility and vulnerability of his almost nude and gender-blurring body, aiming to find ways to play with the boundaries that shape the "modern" body. In Mating Season, he eroticizes and caresses different types of objects, such as shoes, shovels, stone, and cotton bedding. Likewise, in his early performance photography, Sexual Fantasies of the Knife: Mating Season, No. 2 (2001), he uses his naked body to animate a rusty kitchen knife, one of the few objects that he owned when he migrated to Beijing. His performance displays a form of fetishism stuck somewhere between pain and pleasure, as the fragile body passionately tames and consoles the cold object, yearning for reciprocation, allegorizing his solitude and alienation, from a world afflicted with a deficiency of love, through physical contact between the living body and lifeless things, thus traversing the boundary between body and object.
In his performance Love in the Age of Big Construction II (2006), Han Bing continues to explore the "other shore of desire" in this paradoxical process of "modernization. Constructing a site in the ruins of an abandoned building, he decorates a brick wedding "bed" with white cotton from Chinese bedding, fluffy like clouds. Under the canopy of the bed, for three hours, he repeatedly and almost ritualistically "strokes, kisses and caresses,¬ and sleeps with" the enormous steel claw of a backhoe—a quintessential machine of both destruction and construction. He juxtaposes his performance with his video Age of Big Construction, featuring ghostly images projected onto and behind his body that show the uncertain and fast-changing realities of China. He employs, as art critic Maya Kóvskaya has described it, "a dialectic of antinomies to create a space for overcoming." The "softness of the bed of cotton," for instance, "is used to overcome the hardness of the machine, weightless clouds to hold up tons of steel, sensuality to overcome the numbed mechanization of contemporary times, Eros to tame the Death drive, seduction to overcome violation, and feminine generativity to overcome masculine destructivity."
In his performative ceremonies of offering and finding love, which play with on forms of dichotomies, Han Bing's corporeal repetition tests the endurance and stamina of the human body, and ultimately asks the provocative question: How can a life-affirming and boundary-opening body, while preserving its own ethics, negotiate the impersonal violence imposed by China's frantic rush toward urban "modernity"?

Aperçus on Chinese Contemporary Art by Maya Kóvskaya
"Modulating Space:" Negotiating the Balance Between Aesthetic and Semantic
2 February, 2006
Galleria Continua Beijing follows its spectacular Chen Zhen solo exhibition, Transexperience, with Daniel Buren's latest in situ installations, in which the "modulation of space" itself replaces the traditional "art object." Buren's strengths are most pronounced in his use of colored plexiglass filters and mirrors, which he "installs in space," shifting both the gaze of the spectator and decentering the body in relation to the space created by his "architectural instruments." The exhibition's most important contribution is its reminder of the aesthetic possibilities in space as an object of artistic mediation itself.
Since Buren began, in the 70s, to use a variety of surfaces ranging from street signs, flags, staircases, doors, and even clothing as the site for his explorations, space—and public space in particular—has been an important element in his work. This concern makes this exhibition in the People's Republic particularly salient, for the "modulation" of public space through conceptual art is currently one of the most exciting aspects of contemporary art in China. In contrast to Chinese artists who engage public space in their work, space for Buren, seems more aesthetic than social, more abstract than concretely grounded in the vicissitudes of everyday life that is animating some of China's finest emerging artists. For this reason, the Buren exhibition offers an important opportunity for dialogue about the relationship between the semantic and the aesthetic.
Indeed, against the backdrop of the Chinese state's official monopoly on legitimate expression within the public sphere, the meaning of "modulating space" is takes on quite a different hue in the Chinese context. Works by performance artists and conceptual photographers such as Di Naizhuang, Zhu Fadong, Zhang Huan and Han Bing address the question of "modulating space" from a different direction and with varying effects.
In his work on resistance and everyday practice, Michel de Certeau makes a useful distinction between strategy and tactic that is directly related to space. Strategy is that which is directed at long-term ends and is predicated on dominating a given territory or space continuum. For those without autonomous spaces, tactics are the moment-to-moment moves that the relatively powerless make to evade the domination of the powerful who occupy the terrain on which the powerless must move. Strategy then, is the means of the hegemonic power, whereas tactic, in de Certeau's view, is the means of guerrilla resistance, in its struggle to create what Hakim Bey called "temporary autonomous zones," or what philosopher Hannah Arendt called "spaces of appearance"—spaces where selves, meanings and alternative visions of a "good life" can be performatively constituted through word and deed, embodying ways of doing and being that are not legislated by double-headed hydra of the hegemonic state and global capital.
The importance of art that creates "alternative public spaces," in which critical and counter-hegemonic visions of being in the world can be manifested and embodied, then, is nothing less than critical. Certain works of Chinese performance art and conceptual photography, in particular, are noteworthy for their attempts to engage members of society in the production of the artwork and use public space to insert the questions raised by contemporary art into the larger social field.
Forerunners include Di Naizhuang and Zhu Fadong, who vary in terms of the balance between the semantic and the aesthetic. From 1992-1997 Di Naizhuang sold tens of thousands of red umbrellas across the country. This piece, entitled "Fame"—"Zou Hong" in Chinese is a clever play on characters that literally mean "walking red" but denotes ascent to fame—drew attention in the art scene for its large-scale presence, but is was unclear whether the practice of purchasing and carrying his red umbrellas meant anything different to these consumers from the purchase and use of any other commodity. If the red umbrellas had no special meaning for the consumers whose participation was an integral part of this "installation/performance art work," its social significance is rendered opaque at best.
Reflecting on the plight of the self in the context of China's dizzying whirlwind of socio-economic change, performance artist Zhu Fadong posted a "Missing Person" ads seeking himself in Kunming, Yunnan, in 1993. Likewise, however, aside from a small group of artists, it is unclear whether other viewers of the piece had any idea this wasn't simply a genuine missing persons ad. 1994, he followed with a more obviously interactive piece. "This Person is for Sale, Price Negotiable," advertising the sale of himself on his clothing, and walking around Beijing. While the former piece falls short in communicating its a pointed semantic intension, latter is rather thin in the aesthetic dimension.
For works that engage the broader society, the inclusiveness (not to be confused with accessibility) of art and dynamics of reception become a constitutive element in the work. Use or consumption becomes what de Certeau calls a secondary form of production. Meaning is bi-directionally constituted, and the authorial voice is not absolutely authoritative, but rather, its function (and by extension, the function of the artwork itself) is heuristic.
Art that directly involves its subjects in its production, then, is an art that contains potent possibilities for such bi-directional meaning production. Works of Zhang Huan and Han Bing stand out among those who engage public space in this way, combining the semantic with a strong aesthetic component that is captured through composed performance photography (which should be differentiated from the varied and sundry snapshots of performances that are often taken on the fly with little consideration for questions of composition, etc.).
During his Beijing East Village days in the mid-nineties, employing his distinctive aesthetic sensibility, Zhang Huan engaged public space with performances, many of which were documented by gifted photographers such as Rongrong. In Twelve Square Meters he smeared squid ink and honey on his body and sat in a filth-encrusted public toilet until his body was crawling with flies, thus indexically and critically instantiating the nature the conditions in which so many Chinese live. This dramatic, aestheticized performance, did more than merely "re-present" local conditions, it embodied them in a manner that emphasized certain ontological basics. The flies covering his body were not a mere simulacra of actual sanitary conditions—hordes of them were already on site at the time of the performance—they were the hyperbolic instantiation of the reality itself, on which Zhang Huan used the congregation of flies on his body to comment.
Zhang Huan's classic Raising the Level of a Fishpond, is a seminal example of the "modulation of space" through performance. Inviting local migrant peasant laborers to join him in displacing water in a fishpond, the artist not only allowed migrant laborers to symbolically represented their own social status in contemporary China—as much displaced by the changes remaking China that drove them from their farm land to the cities, as displacers, competing with one another for low-paying, and often hazardous employment—but also offered a symbolic ablution for these migrants who are decried by the dominant urban society as dirty, low-quality, and without culture. As they entered the water, raising its level infinitesimally and yet definitely, with each step, their limited yet genuine power to alter the conditions of their existence expressed itself in the rising water margins.
Han Bing's ongoing performance photography series Everyday Precious (2001-present) both reconstitutes public space through participatory performance art and creates permanent moments of alternative public space through photography. Bringing ordinary Chinese who have been left behind in China's charge toward modernization (such as peasants, laborers, peddlers, beggars, and other marginalized subjects) into his performances, Han Bing creates a visual and discursive space in which the conditions of their existence and their positionality in relation to modernization are visually and spatially positioned. In Facing the Future with My Family: Everyday Precious No. 1, Han Bing, who hails from a tiny village in Jiangsu province, stands with his family members in front of a modest peasant home made of red bricks. Each family member, from the smallest child, to the oldest grandparent, hefts a brick in hand as they look ahead apprehensively towards an uncertain a future, offering their hands in the building of it.
In Superfluous Remnants of an Already Backward Modernity: Everyday Precious, No. 2, a row of migrant peasant construction workers, inadequately clothed against the harsh Beijing winter, stand in the snow holding their bricks before a half-way demolished brick building, behind which towers a gleaming steel, glass and concrete construction. During the 80s, when brick was the coveted construction material that promised rural families (i.e. most of China) a chance to move from their homes of stones, mud and straw bricks and into "modern" dwellings, bricks were a symbol of prosperity, hope and "modernity" in all its inflated glory. But before most of rural China has had the chance to finish moving into modernity, the lowly red brick has been outmoded as "backward," inferior construction material. Now "modern" people live in steel, glass, and concrete high-rises, and bricks are discarded as refuse, only to be recycled by people on the margins, who haul them away with mule-carts, still hoping for a chance at a modernity that hardly had a chance to be.
In his latest conceptual photography series, Urban Amber, Han Bing fuses the aesthetic with the semantic, using the ubiquitous "stinky" rivers that criss-cross China's urban centers, as a mirror of modernizing China. In these rivers are choked with garbage and foul with industrial waste, he captures the reflections of glamorous, upscale high-rises, in juxtaposition to the crude falling-down shanty-town "ping fang" dwellings of the local poor, that still exist (often literally) in the shadows of these new "dream homes." Just as amber captures, in perpetuity, the objects of a given era, these "stinky rivers" are urban amber for this era of reckless construction, desperate hopes for a better life, and often futile fantasies of escape from unfortunate lives assigned by birth and social status. The photographs of these inverted dreamscapes are at once ethereal and heavy with the sediment of time, and they encapsulate a new dimension of public space—a space of contrast and juxtaposition, in which it is only through the distorting ripples of polluted water that we can see clearly who we really are. Like Buren's use of colored filters to "modulate space," Han Bing uses these rivers of refuse, which abundantly accompany China's drive for modernization, as the filters that show us the true colors of the waste-products our dreams.
Light and shadow, open space and barriers, movement and constraint, the full flush of color and emptiness of absence—Daniel Buren's in situ installations on exhibit at Galleria Continua raise a series of questions apposite to a Chinese contemporary art that also "modulates space" in order to interrogate and perhaps alter conditions of human existence. What is the proper balance between the aesthetic and the semantic? How much of art should be about life, or even more so, for life, and how much should be for sensual and aesthetic stimulation? The boundaries are blurred as ever, and the answer to these questions as contentious. And so, as long as the dialogue continues, this contentiousness is certainly something to celebrate.
© 2006 Maya Kóvskaya, All Rights Reserved.

Han Bing's Erotic PerformanceMar 24, 2010
By Ernie, www.chinaexpat.com
Sexual Fantasies of the Knife
Ready for some titillation? Sorry, there's plenty of that on the internet without China Expat chipping in. Oh, now you're judging the suspiciously androgynous figure in the photo above. Fair enough. But do know that's Han Bing, a pioneering artist exposing us to ourselves by exposing himself - in India, no less, where urbanization churns up as much chaos as it does in China.
Last Friday, Han Bing drew a huge New Delhi crowd with a public erotic performance, clad only in a loin cloth and going to second base with construction rubble and building tools. Six Indian migrant construction workers were recruited, similarly attired like Tarzan, to hold romantic poses with construction equipment nearby.
If it reeks of exploitation, Han Bing himself grew up hand to mouth in a Jiangsu ghetto, and spent the day before learning their life stories, and telling them his own to draw them into a sense of living narrative. If it reeks of cheap publicity stunt, the performance is called Dreams of Lost Homes, the inauguration of Love in the Time of Big Construction, itself Bing's half of a dual exhibition with renegade artist Tejal Shah called A Cry from the Narrow Between.
Han's erotic act is the continuation of Mating Season, a series he has nurtured since 2001. While most of us see our old environments smashed and re-formed, shrug, then go on earning enough money to buy enough shiny things to deserve love, Han challenges us to reflect on our shifting values, and explore the connection between what we think is acceptable and shocking, real and fake, what we sacrifice of the spiritual by slipping along unreflectively in our material culture.
New Delhi's people face construction chaos as disruptive as any that may be found in Beijing or Shanghai, but their response to the performance went over smoother than it may have in the latter two cities, where scantily clad men canoodling with inanimate objects would meet much more Confucian resistance.
After viewing the performance, fruit vendor Sukhwinder Tiwary commented, "I am strangely aroused, touched, and spiritually moved." Surely Han can consider the piece a success if those outside the narrow circle of art cognoscenti get it. "I understand the message against violent urbanization, alienation, problems of migration and demolition in big cities that the artist is trying to convey. I too am a migrant to the city," said Tiwary.
Han Bing's Erotic Performance
An admittedly well-worn contemporary Chinese art genre, the perils of modernization has its boldest statement yet from Han Bing, who eroticizes tools of manual labor and the dregs of construction to represent the human cost of urbanization.
Obviously, sexual mores are up for inspection as well in Han's work, while such inspection is the main theme of Tejal Shah's half of the exhibition. In fact, ‘A Cry from the Narrow Between' draws its title from a poem by the ancient Greek, lesbian poet Sappho, for whom the "narrow between" is the fraught boundary dividing life and death, and the unbearable, unshakable state of limbo experienced in the throes of transgressive love. Her contribution offers a framework for investigating the relationship between what Freud called "Eros and the Death Drive"
"I developed the narrative from a human rights report put together by the People`s Union for Civil Liberties in Karnataka," said Shah, whose work is the first in the capital to explore sexual violence and alternative sexuality.
Shah has photographed Laxmi, a hijra, or Indian transsexual, and human rights activist based in Mumbai who has always desired to be portrayed as Cleopatra.
Southern Siren - Maheshwari is also about a hijra named Maheshwari in Mumbai, who wanted to dress up as a South Indian film star and see herself in a song and dance sequence, romancing the hero and being romanced by him in return.
In You too can touch the moon - Yashoda with Krishna, another hijra named Malini temporarily fulfills her desire to be a mother through the medium of Raja Ravi Varma's painting Yashoda with Krishna as a reference point.
Shah's graphic visuals of sexual violence and delving into the transgender realm, segues into other work with people in the shadows, marginalized by modern forces, such as an instillation based on an Israeli soldier's testimony of bull-dozing a Palestinian neighborhood. Her themes are all too relevant for China. Although obviously not what both countries' Ministries of Culture would choose for a China-India art event, Han and Shah are doing their part to forge cross-cultural understanding at the outer fringes.

Together with Migrants:
Chinese Contemporary Art and Social Criticism
By Nathaniel M. Stevens
18 June, 2006 Beijing
Hundreds of migrant laborers packed the exhibition hall at Jianwai SOHO provided by culture savvy real estate magnate Pan Shiyi. Many dressed in their finest attire, especially the young ones, who aimed to show the assembled hordes of media at the UNESCO "Together with Migrants" Festival, that "mingong" (the common term for migrant "peasant-workers") have style and dignity just like any other social group. Curated by Zhu Qi, one of China's most pioneering, risk-taking critic/curators, the "China's Happiness and Pain" exhibition, provided a visual compliment to the series of cultural events surrounding the festival that included public debates, poetry readings, and even musical performances by migrants. The contemporary art exhibition featured prominent Chinese artists including Cang Xin, Zhang Xinmin, Chang Qing, Zheng Dongying, Zhu Yan, Zhang Jianhua, Ah Qing, Hu Jie, Han Bing and Japanese artist Wan Li.
Wan Li, who hails from Tokyo, but lives and works in Shanghai, offered a pages of a 3D fiberglass, newspaper—The Migrant Worker's Daily—with powerful quotidian images from daily work and life, including on-the-job injury, depicted in this make-believe newspaper. "The scenes I depicted are real events," Wan Li explains, "but there is no Migrant Worker's Daily to speak to the everyday concerns of this group. I thought that such a large population, so critical to China's development and 'modernization,' should have a space of their own."
Documentary video art by Hu Jie, displayed the living and working conditions of mine-workers in China with gritty pathos. When he shot the film, he encountered numerous obstacles raised by officialdom anxious about the muckraking effects of his work, but when the video made it to the upper echelons of power, the central government began to take the plight of mine-workers seriously, and the dangers of their profession are now a much discussed topic in the mass media.
The most controversial part of the exhibition was the collection of fiberglass sculptures by Zhang Jianhua. Some were well-received by the migrants who attended, such as the Village Head sculpture. Others, such as depictions on beggars groveling for spare change, and homeless migrants with exaggeratedly ugly, and even mentally retarded features, became the topic of much discussion among migrants and other spectators alike about the nature and effect of the stereotypes circulating in the dominant society.
"Stirring up impassioned public debate is one of the functions contemporary art should perform," relates Zhu Qi. "I am especially pleased to hear migrants commenting on the works and engaging the wider public in discussions about their place in society."
"For me," relates Liu Jun, one of the migrants who participated in the New Culture Movement performance art piece orchestrated by artist Han Bing, "the best part of this whole event was being able to be a part of making art."
"I didn't know there were people who made art about ordinary people like us," said Zhu Lei, a Sichuanese migrant who also took part in the performance. "I thought art was something for people with culture, so I was happy to learn that there are artists who think we have culture too."
When Han Bing asked migrants to take bricks in hand and make themselves into living monuments to the New Culture Movement—a burgeoning culture of construction and modernization (in contrast to the original New Culture Movement at the beginning of the 20th century, that heralded the rise of literacy and the value of book-learning in China— he was asking them to manifest the dignity of their labor in public and reclaim their contributions to China's "modernization," contributions the urban society often denigrates. Not one migrant asked why they should pick up bricks. They understood precisely what the red brick symbolizes, in all its ironic complexities: "Bricks are hope," said migrant worker Zhou Rui. "Maybe no one in the city wants bricks anymore, but for us they still have value." "We can use them to build a home for our families, a home that's better than the mud and straw we had to use before."
The New Culture Movement (2001-2006), is an ongoing, nationwide performance photography series by Han Bing, who is one of the few Chinese contemporary artists to hail from a poor rural village. The piece comments on the paradoxes of China's "modernization" process, which has been swept up in a frenzy of pell-mell urban construction—construction that is undertaken by rural migrant laborers who build glamorous gated communities, and gleaming high-rises of steel, glass and concrete, in which they will not only never live, but are also not welcome to visit. In the 80s, being modern meant yearning for a modest house of bricks. Now bricks have been deemed substandard, outmoded materials and are prohibited for use in urban construction, but back in the countryside, where the vast majority of China's population is still rural and still poor, the best that the sweat and toil of the migrants working in the cities can bring is a simple brick construction back home. There is a powerful poignancy to these images of laborers, families and even schoolchildren with bricks in hand like little red books, maintaining their tenacious dreams of making a place for themselves in a society that refuses to acknowledge their worth or contributions.

新闻周刊:长城上"遛白菜",新锐艺术这样表现中国
中国网 | 时间: 2006-11-21 | 文章来源: 青年参考
美国《新闻周刊》11月20日文章:在长城上“遛白菜”——中国新锐艺术这样表现中国(Jessica Au/文 黄义务/编译)
漫步在拥挤的天安门广场,你也许会与牵着一棵白菜遛达的韩冰不期而遇。韩冰的大白菜不仅出现在天安门广场,他还“遛”着它登上长城,漫步于度假胜地秦皇岛海滩,徜徉在苏州田园诗般的村落。“遛白菜”是他对中国疯狂的现代化及狂热物质迷恋的一种尖锐批评。
韩冰属于中国新一代的艺术家。这些艺术家寻求以一种全新而震撼的方式,来解读他们国家的经济繁荣,去展现一个多元化的中国社会。“中国的年轻艺术家们已有信心去诠释一个全新的中国。”当代艺术商迈克尔•古德海斯说。
全世界都痴迷于中国当代艺术品。去年,索斯比拍卖行与克里斯蒂拍卖行总共卖出了价值超过2.1亿美元的亚洲当代艺术品,其中绝大多数是中国 艺术家的作品。上月克里斯蒂举行的一场当代艺术拍卖会上,由绘画新秀曾传兴于2006年创作的一幅肖像画引起疯狂竞拍,这幅描绘一位年轻新娘穿着纸睡衣的 油画,最终以16.48万英镑成交——是拍卖行最初估价的7倍多。
但中国火爆的艺术市场与日渐走高的国际声望背后,却潜藏着危机。重要的一点在于,越来越多的艺术家只为钱而创作。“现在,我的学生将绘画创作与商业价值直接挂钩。”北京画家余陈说,“我年轻时,这两者完全分离。第一代艺术家们画画不是为了钱。”
艺术家与画廊也想趁机大捞一笔,他们对市场亦步亦趋,复制那些效益可观的作品。如果毛泽东的头像或肖像有市场,他们也会去画。长期关注中国 当代艺术的布赖恩•华莱士说,短期来看这也许有利可图,但对中国当代艺术的发展却是灾难性的。他指出,如今艺术界已完全不同于5年前。“虽然陈列的画作让 人眼花缭乱,但要找到真正有才华的画家,却难上加难。”他说,“许多艺术家追随的是商业成功模式。”
但即便如此,这也折射了时代特征。今天,艺术家们描绘和反映了中国多样而不成熟的艺术市场。他们自身就扮演着一个重要角色。“我不会关心市场,我也不认为我的行为艺术能给生活中的那些重大问题提供答案。”本月下旬将“遛”着白菜横穿美国加利福尼亚州的韩冰说,“但它必定会引发公众去深思。”在当今这个飞速发 展、瞬息万变的中国,需要我们思考的确实不少。
中国网 | 时间: 2006-11-21 | 文章来源: 青年参考
曼切斯特第一届亚洲艺术三年展
Nathaniel M. Stevens / 文
刘岩/ 译
本届三年展针对全球化在急剧变动的亚洲世界的区域性转型、本地建构与消化提出思考。以装置、摄影、公共互动行为、绘画、录像多媒体等形式,呈现亚洲当代艺术之于本地化的自我与反驳,之于现代性的自主与资本批判。
被邀请的中国艺 术家陈劭雄,韩冰,邱暗雄分别以多屏幕录像作品对现代化的欲望现实提出质疑,令人动容的唯美和伤感贯穿于三位中国艺术家作品当中对自然传统遭遇现代文明的 现实批判和思考。陈劭雄的多屏幕水墨录像作品以及他的指纹绘画——那个在今日中国人和英国人合作的指纹下朦胧远去的圆明园所印证的陈年旧伤让这种沉淀的历 史记忆在现实思考中显得既冷静而又迷茫;邱暗雄的三屏动画“新山海经”以唯美的动画述说着自然意境在人类社会发展之中的不断解体,幽默而尖锐地对欲望无度 的人类当代生产提出批判。
韩冰的三屏幕录像作品“遛白菜日记”纪录的是一个农村青年用链子遛着中国大白菜周游世界八年的故事。夹杂着异样婉伤的青春日记把无业青年成长的个体命运的 变迁与中国社会的变迁纠缠在一起,极度日常的游戏生活让人怀疑现代物质世界的文明诉求和社会生活的寻常秩序。韩冰的公共行为计划“遛白菜运动在曼切斯特” 于曼切斯特的雨中开始,英国的流浪汉组织,同性恋组织,残疾人以及其他不同国家的志愿者数百人一起遛着英国大白菜在城市街头和车站散步,这个历时三个小时 流动的集体互动行为让曼切斯特全城为之沸腾。
印度当代艺术极为重要的五位年轻艺术家Shilpa Gupta, Surekha, Shaina Anand, Tejal Shah, Jasmeen Patheja以现实表达的多媒介艺术呈现揭示今日世界的霸权骚扰和传统家庭结构的新冲突;Shilpa Gupta 的装置研究“危险”的社会定义和形成的话语。她把机场安检人员没收的各种各样的被怀疑为“凶器”的物品用白布包起来,因此把此物品的性质即 蒙蔽了又统一化了,同时把它们换回到无辜的状态。在旁边,在灯光下的一个麦克风播放艺术家唱的儿歌:“把手举起来。。。。”
Surekha在录像装置“火与天空之间”低头跳格子的游戏试图对从少女到所谓女人的有时会发抖的心灵发出讯号,是在成长期面对成人的危险心理状态的疏离和缓解。
Tejal Shah 的录像装置与摆拍摄影的作品以张力与观念的挑战呈现当下的跨性别文化与自我塑造。她的摄影用真实的男成女变性或跨性别的人与传统印度大片的男子汉明星一起 扮演浪漫的场景,图象执意打破老套对浪漫和性别角色的常规。她的双屏录像装置用丰富的视觉语言表达跨性别人的美丽、人性、二队作为自己内心的人物的渴望。
Shaina Anand 的社会介入性的录像计划通过对英国本地的“公共安全摄像头”的反拍摄, 探讨公民对生活空间在公共安全之中的公共侵犯与私密权利的矛盾。Jasmeen Patheja作品是一些有被性骚扰经历的女人一起完成的多媒体文本艺术。有被性骚扰的经历的艺术家本人带领那些在男性社会欲求中伤痕累累的印度女人抵 抗,公开那令人窒息的被剥削的内心,幻想从受尽折磨的女性意识和可悲的大男子主义的合谋下解放出来。
韩国艺术家Gwon Osang以曼切斯特当地人为模本的照片雕塑作品,Choe U-ram的铁花开合,新加坡P-10小组Woon Tien Wei, Jennifer Teo, Jeremy Chu, Kai Lam,以多媒体装置互动作品探讨本土化的全球化语境;台湾Channel_A小组Hongjohn Lin 和Ella Raidel以及香港等地的艺术家的多媒体装置作品各自从不同角度展现了亚洲当代艺术的能量。