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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

Cao Fei  

Chinese, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 1978, in Guangzhou, China.

Photographer, performance artist. Video, multimedia.

Cao Fei graduated from the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts in 2001, having attended middle school at the same institution four years earlier. She was a co-founder of the partnership Ou Ning + Cao Fei. Her early photography and subsequent interactive sound and video-game environments, or ‘machinima’, emerged from her initial interest in commercial advertising and electronic entertainment videos. Her works often blur reality by involving virtual cosplay figures who imitate manga superhero figures, often artist friends or youths. These performances take place in the urban environment and engage the art world with virtual economies, as well as linking to the rapid modernization and consumerism emerging within China since the turn of the century. She has become known for her ongoing experimental, animated, ethnographic documentary that engages the online world of Second Life to create the virtual RMB City. The video was first shown at the Venice Biennale (China Tracy Pavilion, ...

Article

British-Chinese, 20th – 21st century, female.

Active in Hong Kong and the United Kingdom.

Born 1977, in Hong Kong.

Installation artist, film-maker. Multimedia, video.

Suki Chan spent her early childhood in Hong Kong’s rural district of the New Territories, before emigrating with her family to Oxford, England, at the age of six. Despite the difficulties of adjusting to a second language and culture and having at times a sense of displacement, she went on to study at London’s Goldsmiths’ College, from which she graduated in ...

Article

Britta Erickson

(b Beijing, Oct 7, 1971).

Chinese photographer, video artist and film maker . He studied in the oil painting department of the China Academy of Fine Arts, Hangzhou from 1991 until graduation in 1995. In 1993, for his performance piece Elsewhere, he did not speak for three months. Returning to live in Beijing (1995–7), he studied film for two weeks at the Beijing Film School (1996), and wrote his first film script for An Estranged Paradise (filmed 1997; completed 2002). In 1998 he moved to Shanghai, and began participating in exhibitions in 1999.

The mises-en-scène and careful compositions of Yang’s photographs exhibit the influence of his rigorous education as an oil painter. Lighting and colour—or the lack thereof—contribute significantly to the tenor of each work. Yang’s ability to control the framing, not just of photographic images but also of moving images, in his videos and films sets him apart from other Chinese video artists....

Article

Japanese, 20th century, male.

Born 1960; died 29 October 1995, in Kyoto, of an AIDS-related illness.

Installation artist, video artist. Multimedia.

Dumb Type Collective.

Teiji Furuhashi was the founder of the performance group Dumb Type, an internationally-recognized, Kyoto-based arts collective whose members started to work together in ...

Article

Michelle Yun

(b Ithaca, NY, 1966).

American multimedia artist. A second generation Korean–American, Joo grew up in Minneapolis, MN, and studied briefly at Wesleyan University as a biology major. He took a two-year sabbatical to work at a seed science firm in Austria and subsequently received his BFA from Washington University, St. Louis, MO. In 1989, Joo went on to receive an MFA in sculpture from the Yale School of Art, in New Haven, CT, in 1991, after which he moved to New York.

Joo’s diverse body of work includes sculpture, video, installations and works on paper that deal with issues relating to cultural identity, the body and the relationship between science and art. His projects overlap thematically and formally as part of an ongoing series. Joo has variously implemented a wide range of materials, including monosodium glutamate, salt, taxidermy animals and even his own body, to explore the transformative moment that signals a change of state between matter and energy. Through this exchange, Joo seeks to illuminate the slippages in meaning of the subject within a prescribed cultural context. Time often functions as a cyclical and multilayered catalyst for transformation, exemplified best through his video installations such as ...

Article

Korean, 20th – 21st century, female.

Active in the USA.

Born 1957, in Taegu.

Installation artist, sculptor, performance artist, video artist.

Kim Soo-ja settled in New York. She uses Korean cloth in her work, which she folds, crumples or hangs; for her the fabric has symbolic weight, one tied to the culture of her country. The cloth becomes a metaphorical relation with her body. Rolled in a bundle to form a ...

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

Reena Jana

[Lee Seung-Hee]

(b Kye-Chang, Korea, 1970).

Korean photographer and filmmaker. Lee is known for her self-portraits, in which she presents herself in various ethnic and societal roles, from a middle-aged, low-income Hispanic party hostess to a young, wealthy Asian businesswoman. Lee received her BFA from the Chung-Ang University in South Korea in 1993, an AAS from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York in 1996, and an MA in Photography, New York University, 1999. For her Projects series (1997–2001), Lee immersed herself in various American communities for extended time, from a clique of teenage skateboarders to executives who work in midtown Manhattan, informing group members of her status as an artist while assuming the wardrobe, hairstyle and mannerisms of a fictional character she sought to portray. She then asked members of these social groups to photograph her using everyday cameras and no enhanced lighting or backgrounds. The result is a series of snapshot-like images depicting the artist taking on a multitude of temporary personalities. When seen together, the photographs suggest a mosaic of American experiences....

Article

Japanese, 20th – 21st century, female.

Active in New York.

Born 1967, in Tokyo.

Sculptor, photographer, video artist.

Mariko Mori first studied fashion design in Japan before working as a model during the late 1980s. She then went on to study in London at the Byam Shaw School of Art and Chelsea College of Art and Design in London. In ...

Article

Catherine M. Grant

Reviser Jennifer Way

(b Tokyo, Feb 21, 1967).

Japanese photographer, video artist, performance artist, sculptor, installation artist and painter. Mori studied fashion at the Bunka Fashion Institute in Tokyo from 1986 to 1988 and worked part-time as a model before moving to London to study at the Shaw School of Art (1988–9) and the Chelsea College of Art (1989–92), where she earned a BFA. In New York she participated in the Independent Study Program at the Whitney Museum of American Art (1992–3). In 1994 Mori returned to Tokyo and began making large digital photographs and videos in which she appears as a ‘shaman, mermaid, cyber-geisha and visitor from the future’ (Johnson, p. 56). Subsequently, she assembled teams of stylists, photographers, computer imagists, sound technicians and fabricators along with musicians and scientists to create immersive multimedia installations consisting of digital photography, music, video, cinematic spatial effects, abstract biomorphic sculptural forms, paintings and scent, engaging users and responding to data and environmental stimuli. She exhibited her art in biennale exhibitions throughout the world, for example, in Singapore, Venice, Shanghai, Sydney, Kwangju, Istanbul and Lyon. From ...

Article

Japanese, 20th century, male.

Born 1945, in the Hyogo region.

Video artist. Multimedia.

Mono-ha (school of things), Conceptual Art.

Nomura Hitoshi was a student at the municipal fine arts school in Kyoto. In 1975 the question posed by his artistry was where the border lies between what is art and what is not, and his energies were concentrated solely on the creative act. He made several videos and recorded some discs....

Article

Reiko Tomii

(b Tokyo, May 1965).

Japanese conceptual artist who has used photography, video, painting, sculpture, installation and performance. He received degrees in oil painting (1989) and mural painting (1991) from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. Ozawa belongs to the so-called subculture generation of Japan; those immersed in manga and anime in their childhood. Like his contemporaries (such as Takashi Murakami (b 1962) and Makoto Aida (b 1965)), he freely borrowed from both traditional and modern cultures to critique the institutions of art, life and society, while humorously exploiting everyday culture, such as Jizō (Sk: Kshitigarbha; a popular Buddhist deity of salvation), soy sauce and milk-bottle receptacles.

For his first major project Jizoing, begun in 1988, he photographed a small handmade figurine, or a rudimentary drawing of Jizō, at some 80 places in Japan, as well as China, Tibet, Korea, Moscow, Tehran and New York over a period of more than 10 years. The photographs, monochromatically printed and tinted in pale blue to invoke a time of twilight, were compiled into a book (...

Article

Korean, 20th century, male.

Active in Germany and the USA.

Born 20 June 1932, in Seoul; died 29 January 2006, in Miami.

Installation artist, performance artist, video artist. Multimedia.

Neo-Dadaism, Fluxus, Cyber Art.

Paik Nam June’s family fled to Hong Kong, and later to Japan at the onslaught of the Korean War. He studied the history of art and music in Tokyo and continued his musical studies at Munich University and Freiburg Conservatory. During his studies, he was introduced to electronic music by Karlheinz Stockhausen and became friends with John Cage. In ...

Article

Japanese, 20th century, male.

Born 19 February 1944, in Morioka (Iwate).

Sculptor, installation artist, performance artist, video artist.

Mono-ha (school of things).

Suga Kishio trained at the Tama Art College in Tokyo, graduating in 1968. He subsequently trained under Saito. He visited parts of Europe, particularly France, in ...

Article

Japanese, 20th century, male.

Born 28 January 1927, in Tokyo; died 14 April 2001, in Tokyo.

Sculptor, environmental artist, film maker, flower arranger.

Teshigahara Hiroshi was caught up in 1960s international art but also attached to Japanese tradition: he would invite Rauschenberg and Cage to Tokyo while teaching the art of flower arrangement at the Ikebana School. He created avant-garde environments but used natural components fully in the spirit of Japanese tradition, such as green bamboo....

Article

Japanese, 20th century, male.

Born 1948; died 1982, in Osaka.

Photographer, video artist.

Nobuo Yamanaka studied at Tama Art University. In particular he utilised the pinhole procedure, projecting (reversed) photographs taken outside through a tiny hole – instead of a lens – onto an emulsioned wall in a darkened room....

Article

Reiko Tomii

(b Kobe, Jan 3, 1967).

Japanese photographer and video artist ( see fig. ). She received degrees in crafts (1989) and art (1991) at Kyoto City University of Arts. During her studies, she created installations with accumulative fibre elements. When she photographed them for documentation, she came to recognize the power of photography. In 1993 she presented a performance work The White Casket , at Art Space Niji, Kyoto. Making a complete departure from her fibre works, she began a Photoshop-manipulated photographic series, Elevator Girls, in 1994. The project lasted for the next seven years, and depicted a group of primly uniformed elevator girls, all looking alike and mysteriously assembled in an elevator and other commercial, urban architectural settings. Frozen in passive or inactive postures, they represent the depersonalized, claustrophobic existence of Japanese women (and women in general), who live in an artificial consumer culture and a patriarchal Japanese society.

In 2000...

Article

Chinese, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1957, in Hangzhou.

Installation artist, video artist. Multimedia.

Cynicism movement.

Zhang Peili is one of the few Chinese artists to use installations, video, and photography in his work. His work is a critical interpretation of the reality of contemporary China. He is also one of China’s leading Academic art practitioners, teaching at the China Academy of Fine Arts for more than twenty years, and is a leading figure in experimental new-media art....