Chinese Contemporary is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of Zhu Ming’s photography, sculpture and oil paintings that will be on display October 18 – November 26, 2008 at Chinese Contemporary’s Beijing gallery in Factory 798. The opening will be October 18, 2008 at 3 pm and the artist will be present.
A member of the famous East Village (Dong Cun) artists, Zhu Ming is considered one of the original performance artists of the 1990s who shattered the ingrained notion in China of the body as taboo. Marginalized and even jailed by the Chinese government during the early years of his production, Zhu Ming has cast his naked body in a variety of raw, experimental Bubble and Luminescent Man performances that hint at the fragility and ultimately singular experience of human existence. The Bubbles Series serve as a reference to the Chinese traditional concept of qi (air, gas) and as a symbol of the transience of the human life cycle. Zhu Ming’s performances consist of either enveloping himself with an immense blanket of sudsy bubbles or encasing himself within a plastic balloon, often in brutal and physically demanding ways.
Subjecting his body to extreme conditions– such as a lack of air, toxic florescent body paint or the threat of drowning – Zhu Ming’s slight body stands in contrast to the enormity of the materials and the intensity of his performance. It is often unclear whether the bubbles shield him against external forces or whether their translucent skin emphasizes the vulnerability of the naked figure within. This tension is apparent in the artist’s March 8, 2003 performance, executed in the waters of Sydney Harbor, Australia, which draws a fine line between the protection of the buoyed bubble and the threat of the shark infested water. In his latest ‘July 27, 2008, Liangshanzhou, Sichuan’ work, Zhu Ming recruited participants to set one of the camping grounds of Mao’s Long March as the stage for a Bubble performance. Once persecuted by the authorities for what they viewed as being antagonistic to the social order, ‘July 27, 2008’ highlights the passage of time with the death of the historical spot as a communist stronghold and the rebirth of the men to a natural state within the circular form. To accompany his photography, Zhu Ming will also exhibit sculptural works and oil paintings that are an extension of his performance works.
An internationally acclaimed artist, Zhu Ming has received funding to perform in Germany, Japan, Italy, Australia and England. His photography has been included in the groundbreaking show “Between Past and Future – New Photography and Video from China” (2004, Institute of Contemporary Art, New York; Victoria & Albert, London) and has been shown in important fairs such as FIAC (2001), ART Cologne (2001) and the at the 51st Venice Biennale – WATERWAYS 2005.