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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. He spent several periods in Tibet, emigrated to Japan in 1986, and since 1995 lived in New York. Guo-Qiang made his name by using gunpowder in his work, which he would detonate as a symbol of his desire to free himself from cultural or political fetters. These works may be ephemera, which he captures on film or video—images that literally explode into being, or simulated landmines that detonate when visitors walk on them.

As a bearer of ancestral Chinese culture, Cai holds Western art up for examination as a form of inverse exoticism, shifting familiar ground by displacing his spectators and the way their eyes move. Sometimes, as in ...

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

Catherine M. Grant

revised by 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

Chinese, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1966, in Beijing.

Performance artist, installation artist, video artist.

Shortly after his 1989 graduation from the fine arts department at Capital Normal University, Beijing, Song Dong embarked upon a series of intrinsically ephemeral activities and performances for which his own body, his own breath, and water served as artistic materials. In Breathing (1996), Song lay prone for 40 minutes at Tiananmen Square and at a frozen lake called Back Sea, noting his ability or failure to effect change at the two Beijing locations. For Water Writing Diary (since 1995), Song has ritually recorded his daily impressions with brush and water, his private thoughts lost to evaporation. With Stamping the Water (1996), Song repeatedly plunged a seal carved with the character for water into the Lhasa River in Tibet, demonstrating the futility of marking the natural world. Because of his limited financial means and his conceptual approach to art, Song’s works from the 1990s have been linked with what the Chinese critic Gao Minglu calls ‘apartment art’. Though Song’s works questioned the ability of an individual to leave lasting material traces, their photographic and video documentation have allowed these performances to reach a larger, international public through exhibitions and installations. Since ...

Article

Midori Yoshimoto

(b Tokyo, April 5, 1967).

Japanese sculptor, installation and video artist . Torimitsu received a BFA in sculpture at Tama Art University (1994) and, soon after her university graduation, she completed Miyata Jiro, a life-size robot of a stereotypical Japanese businessman, and made it crawl on the pavements of various districts in Tokyo. Perhaps because of its candid critique of Japanese corporate culture, businessmen in Marunouchi district pretended not to look at the robot, while it attracted large crowds elsewhere. In order to study varying reactions to her robot in different social settings, Torimitsu moved to New York in 1996, to participate in the P.S.1 International Program. For the American premier of Miyata Jiro that year, on Wall Street and near the Rockefeller Center, Torimitsu dressed as a nurse to redirect the robot’s movement or recharge its battery. Her New York performances were so well received that Torimitsu subsequently acquired opportunities to do the same in Amsterdam, Graz, London, Paris, Rio de Janeiro and Sydney....

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 ...