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Article

Chinese, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active in Japan and the USA.

Born 8 December 1957, in Quanzhou City (Fujian Province).

Painter, draughtsman, mixed media, video artist, installation artist, performance artist.

Cai Guo-Qiang trained in stage design at the Shanghai drama institute from 1981 to 1985...

Article

Sook-Kyung Lee

One of the characteristics of Korean contemporary art is a continuous effort in employing and interpreting international art practices and discourses. Art movements from Europe and North America in particular, including Abstract Expressionism, Art informel, Minimalism, Conceptual art and Post-modernism, have influenced many Korean artists’ styles and ideas since the 1950s, providing formal and conceptual grounds for critical understandings and further experiments. Whilst some artists who maintained traditional art forms such as ink painting and calligraphy exercised modernist styles and abstract forms largely within the norms and conventions of traditional genres, a large group of artists proactively adapted to Western styles, employing new materials and techniques as well as the notions of avant-garde and experimentalism (see fig.).

A major critique of the reception of Western art and aesthetics came from ‘Minjung art’ (People’s Art) in the 1980s as part of instigating a nationalist and politically charged art strategy. Several art historians and critics who emerged in the 1990s also expanded the scope of the debate with postcolonial and pluralist points of view. The shift in social, economic and political environments played an important role in changing sensibilities in art, along with the advances of technology and new media in the 2000s. The high degree of diversity and sophistication of Korean art in terms of media and subject matters became widely acknowledged within and outside the nation, and an increasing number of artists started to work on the cutting edge of international art....

Article

Korean, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 1964, in Yongwol.

Sculptor, installation artist, performance artist, draughtswoman.

Lee Bul graduated from Hong-Ik University in Seoul with a bachelor of fine arts in sculpture. She settled in Seoul. Lee seeks to explore feminine archetypes by creating a universe inhabited by monsters and imaginary creatures based on Korean legends and contemporary technology (notably cyborgs), or manga imagery. She has also used her own nude body in her performances. Whether making unliveable, solitary cubicles - as in her karaoke pods - or strolling about in one or other of her outlandish costumes, she tries to destabilise established values through her objects and creatures. For instance, in her sculpture ...

Article

Chinese, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active in Beijing.

Born 1969, in Huangshi (Hubei Province), China.

Painter, photographer, performance artist.

Ma Liuming graduated from the Department of Oil Painting at the Hubei Academy of Fine Arts in Wuhan in 1991. Ma is best known as a member of the Beijing East Village collective, which worked on the outskirts of Beijing in the early 1990s. A pioneer of performance art in China, Ma focused his practice on issues of gender and sexuality through the use of his own body. During his time in the East Village, Ma developed a feminine alter ego, Fen-Ma Liuming. His performances primarily focused on domestic activities and often featured the act of cooking, such as in ...

Article

Midori Yoshimoto

(b Seattle, WA, 1939).

American painter of Japanese ancestry (sansei or third generation). The subjects in Shimomura’s paintings, prints and performances have largely stemmed from his personal experience of living as an ethnic minority in the Midwest and his grandmother’s diaries chronicling her immigration and adjustment to the USA in the early 20th century. By incorporating the seemingly disparate images from the historical and contemporary sources, Shimomura has presented captivating visual essences that bespeak of the multi-generational experience not only of Japanese–Americans, but also of Asian Americans. His works constituted significant critiques of the racial prejudices deeply rooted in the American society, alarming the viewer that the roots of prejudice could be found in all individuals.

At age three, Shimomura’s earliest visual memory was formed in Camp Minidoka in the southern Idaho desert, where he and his family, along with thousands of other Japanese–Americans, were detained from 1942 to 1944. Shimomura’s distant memory was revived after reading his grandmother’s diaries, which offered the ground narratives for many series of paintings: ...

Article

Chinese, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1958, in Chengdu, Sichuan.

Painter, performance artist. Conceptual art, installations, video.

Wang Jianwei studied at the Chengdu Painting Academy from 1983 and received an M.A. from the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts in 1987. He lives and works in Beijing. He paints people moving in space and bathed in an atmosphere close to that of dream symbolism. He has been a member of the Beijing Painting Academy since ...

Article

Chinese, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active in Iceland; Hamburg, Germany; and Shanghai.

Born 1960, in Zhoushan, China.

Installation artist, performance artist, book artist, painter.

In 1986, Wu graduated from the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts in Hangzhou and conceived his installation and performance series Red Humour...

Article

Chinese-Australian, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1956, in Hong Kong.

Painter, performance artist, writer. Multimedia.

John Zerunge Young emigrated from Hong Kong for Australia in 1967 during Hong Kong’s period of unrest and riots. He spent his formal school years in Sydney and went on to study philosophy at the city’s university. His interest in painting, however, remained a constant part of his early childhood, and he furthered his studies in painting and sculpture at the Sydney College of the Arts. It was there that he came into contact with a number of leading visual artists of the time, including the conceptual artist Imants Tillers. Young’s investigation into Western late modernism prompted a period in which his works dealt with themes of his dual nationality and the diasporic Chinese communities in Australia. Young has participated in many regional group travelling exhibitions. In ...