Song Dong


Song Dong
b. 1966, Beijing
Performance, installation artist
While studying academic painting at Capital Normal University (BFA, 1989), Beijing artist Song Dong was strongly influenced by the 85 New Wave [Art] Movement. An internationally acclaimed avant-garde artist, his performance, installation and video art resists commercialism by portraying a private spiritual world discrete from an external material one. In Breathing (1996), he created a patch of ice in Tiananmen Square using only his breath, and in Water Writing Diary (1995-present) he produces an ephemeral record written in water on a rock similar to his Printing on Water (1996), performed in a river near Lhasa.
Song’s challenge to the hegemony of academy art includes organizing a seven-city exhibition, ‘Wildlife: An Experimental Art Project Held Outside Conventional Exhibition Spaces and Devoid of Conventional Exhibition Forms’ (5 March 1997–5 March 1998). His contribution, Displacing Central Axes, subverts Beijing’s symbolic ascendancy over its subjects.
He first mapped out the respective central axes of Beijing and his home, took photos along each axis, and created two long narrow compositions. Finally he transposed the photograph of one axis onto the other in reality, resulting in a complex inversion of public and private space. He and his wife, Yin Xiuzhen, produce similar effects in their installations utilizing relics collected from Beijing construction sites from which families were forcibly relocated.
Gao, Minglu (ed.) (1999). Inside Out: New Chinese Art. San Francisco/New York: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Asia Society Galleries, New York [for Printing on Water and Water Writing Diary].
Song, Dong and Yin, Xiuzhen (2002). Chopsticks/ Kuaizi. New York: Chambers Fine Art.
Wu, Hung (2000). Exhibiting Experimental Art in China. Chicago: Smart Museum of Art/University of Chicago Press [for Father and Son in the Ancestral Temple and Wildlife].
——(2000). Transience: Chinese Experimental Art at the End of the Twentieth Century. Chicago: Smart Museum of Art/University of Chicago Press [for Breathing].
ROBIN VISSER

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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