231 pages hardcover
Along with fellow performance artist Zhang Huan, Ma Liuming is widely considered one of China's most innovative artists. He took up performance art after the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing, but was not able to show his work publicly until many years later. By the late 1990s, he had attracted international attention and begun showing abroad. Born in 1969, Liuming grew up in a China increasingly open to the rest of the world; in 1993, he had a formative studio visit with British artists Gilbert & George, who were in Beijing for an exhibition.
Androgynous and confrontational, Liuming is now best known for his radical performances as the lipsticked female alter ego, Fen. For example, in "Fen Ma Liuming in Lyon (France)," first performed in 2001, he drugs himself with sleeping pills and sits virtually motionless, while the audience is invited onstage. Audience activity varies from location to location, but usually at least a few take their own clothing off and join him. With an essay by writer and curator Eleonora Battiston, who specializes in Chinese contemporary art, this volume is a rare contextualization of Luiming's daring oeuvre.
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