Sensationalism


Sensationalism
Artistic trend
Sensationalism, or Shock Art, appeared in embryo form as an alienated mutation of body art, in the first performances by Zhang Huan held at the Yuanming Yuan artist community since 1993. Zhang used his own body to inflict and signify pain, as in 65 Kg of June 1994. This kind of extreme art, which broke out in the second half of the 1990s, aimed at subverting the audience’s notions of art and standards of morality by exploring the material borders of the horrific. Artists began to use the corpses of human adults and infants, specimens and dead animals as their main vehicle of expression, using pain and the viewing of disturbing body parts as a media with which to ‘cause sensation by creating paralysis’ (Berghius).
Shock Art reached something of a group-specific consensus with the underground show ‘Post-Sense Sensibility: Alien Bodies and Delusion’, organized by curator Wu Meichun and artist Qiu Zhijie in Beijing in 1999, and then with a fringe exhibition organized at the margins of the Shanghai Biennale entitled ‘Fuck Off in 2000. Works of Shock Art were later presented in a documentary for the 5th Lyon Biennale and broadcast on BBC 4 in a much-discussed report, entitled Swinging Beijing, on 29 December 2002. Among the most shocking works were those by artist-duo Sun Yuan and Peng Yu, often using foetuses, as in Siamese Twins (2000), in which they transfused their own blood into the fused corpses of two babies, or as in Oil of the Human Being (2000) in which Peng Yu incubated a deceased child’s body with the same oil used to drain off the blood of corpses in a morgue. Zhu Yu’s Pocket Theology (1999) showed a human arm, hung from a hook in the centre of the exhibition hall, holding a rope that ran down to cover the entire floor. For Skin Graft (2000), Zhu sewed a piece of his own flesh onto the body of a dead pig. Xiao Yu used lab specimens of a premature baby, mice, ducks and rabbits to make up animal aberrations as in the three-piece series Ruan (1999), Wu (2000) and Jiu (2000), where he addresses the issues of contemporary clone-inflated environment and technological culture. Among other artists that adopt the same trend, albeit in a less provocative yet still disturbing fashion are: Gu Dexin, who used pigs’ hearts and brains in his installations of 1996 and 1998, Zhang Hanzi, Qin Ga, Jin Feng (‘Unusual & Usual’, Yuangong Modern Art Museum, Shanghai, 2000) and Feng Weidong.
(2001). Bu hezuo fangshi [Uncooperative Method] (exhibition catalogue).
Shanghai: Eastlink Gallery.
Berghuis, J.Thomas (2001). ‘Flesh Art: Performance and Body Art in Post-Mao China’. Chinese-art.com Online Magazine 4.5.
Dao, Zi (2001). The Confusion of the Body’. Chinese-art.com Online Magazine 4.5.
Erickson, Britta (2001). ‘From the Edge of Beyond: Artists Probe the Mundane and the Horrific’. Chinese-art.com Online Magazine 4.3.
Liao, Wen (2001). ‘Racing through Forbidden Territory: “Sex” in the Works of China’s Female Artists’. Chinese-art.com Online Magazine 4.3.
Qiu, Zhijie and Wu, Meichun (1999). Post-Sense Sensibility: Alien Bodies and Delusion (exhibitioncatalogue).Beijing: Shaoyaoju.
Yi, Ying (2001). ‘Mundane and Profound’. Chinese-art.com Online Magazine 4.3.
BEATRICE LEANZA

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Sensationalism — is a manner of being extremely controversial, loud, or attention grabbing. It is especially applied to the emphasis of the unusual or atypical. It is also a form of theatre. The term is commonly used in reference to the media. Critics of media… …   Wikipedia

  • Sensationalism — Sen*sa tion*al*ism, n. 1. (Metaph.) The doctrine held by Condillac, and by some ascribed to Locke, that our ideas originate solely in sensation, and consist of sensations transformed; sensualism; opposed to {intuitionalism}, and {rationalism}.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • sensationalism — index exaggeration Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • sensationalism — 1846, in philosophy; 1865, of journalism, from SENSATIONAL (Cf. sensational) + ISM (Cf. ism) …   Etymology dictionary

  • sensationalism — [n] exaggeration aggrandizement, boasting, excess, fabrication, fish story*, hype, hyperbole, overemphasis, puffery, tabloid journalism, tall story*, whopper*, yellow journalism*; concepts 63,278,663 …   New thesaurus

  • sensationalism — ► NOUN ▪ (in the media) the use of exciting or shocking stories or language at the expense of accuracy, in order to provoke public interest or excitement. DERIVATIVES sensationalist noun & adjective sensationalistic adjective …   English terms dictionary

  • sensationalism — [sen sā′shənə liz΄əm] n. 1. a) the use of strongly emotional subject matter, or wildly dramatic style, language, or artistic expression, that is intended to shock, startle, thrill, excite, etc. b) preoccupation with or exploitation of what is… …   English World dictionary

  • sensationalism — sensationalist, n., adj. sensationalistic, adj. /sen say sheuh nl iz euhm/, n. 1. subject matter, language, or style producing or designed to produce startling or thrilling impressions or to excite and please vulgar taste. 2. the use of or… …   Universalium

  • sensationalism — [[t]sense͟ɪʃənəlɪzəm[/t]] N UNCOUNT (disapproval) Sensationalism is the presenting of facts or stories in a way that is intended to produce strong feelings of shock, anger, or excitement. The report criticises the newspaper for errors and… …   English dictionary

  • sensationalism — noun Date: 1846 1. empiricism that limits experience as a source of knowledge to sensation or sense perceptions 2. the use or effect of sensational subject matter or treatment • sensationalist adjective or noun • sensationalistic adjective …   New Collegiate Dictionary


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