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Article

Hyewon Lee

(b Seoul, March 13, 1967).

Korean multimedia artist active in Germany and the UK. Koo studied Western painting at Hongik University, Seoul (1985–90), and multimedia art at the Ecole National Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris (1991–7). While Koo’s drawings and photographs capture inconspicuous details of her daily life and surroundings, her installations incorporate such mundane objects as coins, rubber bands, sugar cubes, empty bottles, washing sponges and Walt Disney cartoon characters. Her interest in the fragments of everyday life not only reflects a sustained cultural interest in le quotidien in France, but is in tune with many Korean artists of her generation, who rose to significance in the Korean art world in the late 1990s, turning to small items of daily use rather than pursuing excessive visibility or the monumentality evident in the works of their predecessors.

More often than not, nestled down at insignificant corners of an exhibition space, Koo’s small-scale installations evade a viewer’s eyes at first glance. Sometimes an installation is even invisible, as in one of her two installations for the ...

Article

Britta Erickson

(b Beijing, Jan 9, 1966).

Chinese installation artist, painter and computer artist. He completed middle school in 1985 at the Beijing School of Arts and Crafts, and received his BA in 1991 from the printmaking department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing. He is considered China’s first and most important computer artist. He is a guest teacher at the Central Academy’s Photography and Digital Media Studio.

Beginning in 1983 or 1984, Feng became fascinated by computer gaming. He made use of the look and techniques of computer games and explored the implications of computer gaming through his work. Several early 1990s painting series reproduce the look of computer games of the time, with two-dimensional fighting depicted in front of simple backgrounds rendered in flat colours. Game Over: Long March (1994; set of 42 paintings), for example, deploys such popular culture heroes as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in battle along with Tyrannosaurus rexes, People’s Liberation Army soldiers and Mao Zedong. As a result of these painting series, Feng was considered a Political Pop artist, Political Pop being a late 1980s–early 1990s painting trend that defused Cultural Revolution (...

Article

Catherine M. Grant

(b Tokyo, Oct 8, 1955).

Japanese painter and multimedia artist. He studied at the Musadhino Art University in Tokyo, graduating in 1980. During the 1980s he worked in Tokyo, making large-scale paintings using appropriated imagery and collage. In 1986 he made the bookwork London/Honcon 1980, a collection of images created in response to trips to London and Hong Kong. This work incorporated found material such as printed matter, rubbish and photographs, combined with sketches and paintings made during his visits. The project signalled Ohtake’s enduring interest in the book as a flexible and appropriate form for his idiosyncratic mixtures of collage and sketches. In 1988 Ohtake moved to the rural area of Shikoku, a change of environment reflected in a shift in subject matter in his work to imagery inspired by the natural landscape and the seaside. In the same year Ohtake completed his bookwork Dreams, a diary of his dreams between 1984 and 1988...

Article

Britta Erickson

(b Hangzhou, Nov 6, 1957).

Chinese painter, performance, installation and video artist . Zhang studied in the oil painting department of the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts, Hangzhou from 1981 to 1984, graduating with a bachelor's degree. With other recent graduates he formed the Youth Creative Society (1984), which organized the New Space ’85 exhibition of avant-garde art in Hangzhou (1985). In May 1986, with other Youth Creative Society members, Zhang Peili, Geng Jianyi (b 1962), Wang Qiang, Song Ling and Bao Jianfei formed the Pool Society, which created two of the earliest post-Cultural Revolution outdoor installation and performance works (Work No. 1—Yang’s Taiji Series (1986) and Work No. 2—Walkers in a Green Space (1986)).

Zhang’s paintings of the mid-1980s are coolly analytical works, rendered with a limited palette. Emotionally detached, they represent musical instruments; (figures posed in the artificially frozen steps of such activities as playing an instrument); or surgical gloves, a motif introduced following a hepatitis epidemic ...

Article

Ah Xian  

Claire Roberts

[Liu Jixian]

(b Beijing, May 7, 1960).

Chinese multimedia artist, active also in Australia. Ah Xian is a self-taught artist. He grew up during the Cultural Revolution (1966–76) and spent his early years in the relatively privileged environment of Beijing’s Science and Engineering University, where his parents worked. He trained as a mechanical fitter and worked in a factory, pursuing art on his own time. In the late 1970s he began to associate with avant-garde poets, writers and artists including members of The Stars, a non-official art group demanding freedom of artistic expression. Because his experimental works of art incorporating naked figures were considered at the time to be spiritually polluting, he was subject to routine surveillance by the Public Security Bureau.

Ah Xian first travelled to Australia in 1989 as a visiting artist at the Tasmanian School of Art. He returned the following year, after the Tiananmen massacre (4 June 1989), and in ...