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02 May 2019

Alternative of the 85s New Wave: Fang Jinghui in 1992

Photo by 9mouth

Fang Jinghui in 1992
Fang Jinghui


Curated by Li Zhenhua & Dieter Ronte Till May 11, 2019 Hours: Thu-Fri 4-7pm, Sat 11am-4pm

Yidi Cao

Kunstraum Villa Friede
Mainzer Str. 141
53179 Bonn

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'I make art to break through constraints of life.' -- Fang Jinghui

'Fang Jinghui in 1992' presents 11 large-scale platinum photographs of body sculptures created by the artist in 1992. The exhibition is curated by independent curator Li Zhenhua and Dieter Ronte, former director of Kunstmuseums Bonn. Fang Jinghui is a socially engaged artist based in Beijing.

The curator Li Zhenhua writes about the social context and significance of Fang's works,

'The live performance staged by Fang Jinghiu at National Art Museum of China in Beijing in 1992 is completely the opposite than the dark condition of late 80s as described in Wang Hui's The Rise of Modern Chinese Thought. The former is more celebratory while the latter is an intellectual reflection on the times. The progress of a society is not necessarily linear nor follows a single logic. History has taught me to look at the objective perspectives and the multiple narratives. My point of interest is the marginalised information in the historical narrative and how it evolves.

Fang Jinghui's works continue the general cultural characteristics of mid 80s rather than the 85 New Wave limited in the realm of fine arts. He exemplifies an attempt to explore cultural diversity in the new era. The gigantic transformation of values in the 80s China from international politics to domestic life, from thought to material, obscured this contemporary gesture in the arts and it couldn't be recognised in the society without official promotion. It explains why Fang Jinghui's works are not directly related to 85 New Wave movement. However being recognised by the mainstream culture, and brought into the limelight by the official channels, his practice is not influenced by the aforementioned system. The impact of increasingly active economic activities and freshly introduced oversea cultures results in a brand-new form of glocal culture.

Starting from The Star Art Exhibition since the late 70s, Chinese contemporary art remains in the same posture - rebellious, free and underground. It then went on to become anarchical and anti-capitalistic. It provided an alternative international path for Chinese contemporary art and artists. Art became a political gesture and a mask for mainstream contemporary art. The political strategy didn't result in any progressive social discussion, nor did it affect its own exploration and art system.

The rapidly increasing economic activities in China lead to fundamental changes to the society. How does contemporary art participate the local and international market where traditional culture has been the predominant part? Since 2005, Chinese contemporary art gained more attention through public auctions. The rise of video art since the 90s and new media after 2000, is highly intertwined with the development of economy and technology.

This is the context where Fang's works are positioned in.'

The exhibition is the first time that Fang Jinghui's works are presented outside China and marks a significant reevaluation of Chinese contemporary art development and history-making.

About the Artist

Born in Guangdong Province in 1967, Fang Jinghui graduated from Beijing Institute Of Fashion Technology in 1992. He held the first conceptual art project Fang Jinghui's Personal Fashion Art Show in the same year at the National Art Museum of China. 
In 1994, he tried to push forward the boundary of concept, performance and fashion culture again, and held the second conceptual art project '94 Fang Jinghui Fashion Art Exhibition' in Poly Mansion, Beijing. He participated in the Second China Contemporary Art Archive Exhibition (2007), Beijing 798 Biennale (2009), and Chengdu Biennale (2013). In 2013, he founded 'Post-Orient'.