Performance Art, Archives and Academic Research

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Huang Jing Yuan, The Right to Write, 2018. Installation Shot at the Shanghai Biennale, 2018, image courtesy the artist.

Yu-Chieh Li, the Judith Neilson Postdoctoral Fellow in Contemporary Art at UNSW Art & Design, recently completed a field trip to investigate the phenomenon of performance art festivals and live art in Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, particularly how performance artists approach collaborations and handle the archives of their works. In this blog post she tells us a little of her experiences meeting White Rabbit Collection artist Huang Jing Yuan, and Chen Guang.

Huang Jing Yuan, whose work is in the White Rabbit Collection, has recently conducted a series of socially engaged projects to explore motherhood, privacy, and individualism. She collaborates with non-professional artists in “The Right to Write,” a collective research on individual creativities. For the iteration at the Shanghai Biennale, she displays archives and art works by various individuals. Through the assemblages made of diaries, letters, sketches, and paintings, the project explores writing as a way to foster a public platform for sharing and researching the root of the Post-socialist Chinese culture.

The top floor in Chen Guang’s studio is where the three-year project Doctor’s Pharmacy has been performed.

Another example is performance artist Chen Guang, who considers documentation the only way of disseminating his work with political contents. 2019 is the third year of his ongoing performance which emphasises spontaneity and mental healing through performing. Every day he records footage of himself performing his inner dialogue on the top floor of his studio in outskirt Beijing, which will be compiled into a video.

About Yu-Chieh Li

Yu-Chieh Li is Judith Neilson Postdoctoral Fellow in Contemporary Art at UNSW Art & Design. She completed her Ph.D. on Post-socialism, collective practice, and audience participation in Post-Mao Chinese art. Before relocating to Sydney, she worked as an Andrew W. Mellon C-MAP Fellow at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, during the time she contributed to internal and public workshops on contemporary and modern art from East- and South- Asia, and publications on the museum’s global art platform. Li was an adjunct researcher at Tate Research Centre: Asia, where she developed a project on performativity, artistic networks, and diaspora of Sinosphere from the 1970s to the 1980s. Her postdoctoral research at the UNSW investigates post-1980s Sinophone performance art, particularly localism, liveness, and dialogic works. At UNSW, she works with the Judith Neilson Chair in Contemporary Art, Professor Paul Gladston, to develop a public seminar series on Postmodernism in Asia, as well as undergraduate courses on East Asian Contemporary Art. Li is co-curating an exhibition on art and feminism with Shih-yu Hsu at Taipei Contemporary Art Centre in 2019.

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