“Art should follow the age it belongs to and reflect the society, its structure, context and changes.”

Born: Zhejiang province, 1972. Lives and works in Beijing and Shanghai.

Jin Jiangbo approaches art by way of a formidable intellect. A doctoral candidate at a Beijing university, he says his work is driven by ideas rather than personal experience, and his conversations often sound like sociology or economics lectures. He is equally drawn to new media, which “connect art and technology”, and to photography, which is both objective and “sensitive enough to capture small traces of this fleeting world”. He is best known for his panoramic photographs of abandoned factories and silent market halls, which he calls “my review of the craze and spuriousness of the deceptive commodity economy”. 18 Copper Men: That Is He (2005) is a more fanciful comment on global politics. The title refers ambiguously to the metal “bodies” once used to train acupuncturists (the acupoints were marked by holes covered with wax, which would seep water when they were pierced with a needle), and to the eighteen copper (or bronze) men of the Shaolin Temple, armoured fighters whom trainees had to defeat before they could qualify as kung-fu masters. The work invites viewers to insert needles into a series of acupoints. Each point activates a short cartoon featuring world leaders, as if to illustrate the symptoms of various ailments. Geopolitical conflict is presented as a human affliction, and “political superstars” as sick men.

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