Xiamen Dada


Xiamen Dada
Artist group
Xiamen Dada is an art group founded in 1986 by Huang Yongping, Cha Lixiong, Liu Yiling, Lin Chun and Jiao Yaoming. Antagonistic to pre-conceived notions of art, they found similarities between Chan Buddhism and Dada in the recognition of the impossibility of truth. The group was primarily identified with the ideas of Huang Yongping, set out in ‘Xiamen Dada—a Kind of Postmodernism?’ (Xiamen Dada—yizhong houxiandai?) in 1986. Works in the Xiamen Dada exhibition of the same year were characterized by the use of modern styles and found objects. The artists publicly burned some of the works at the end of the exhibition as an act of self-liberation, and were consequently barred from holding further public events.
Huang had previously organized ‘A Modern Art Exhibition of Five Artists’ (Wuren xiandai huazhan, 1983) in Xiamen (Fujian province) where he showed his Haystack (Duocao). This work—a copy of Bastien Lepage’s Les Foins with a plaster mask placed on the peasant woman’s face—ridiculed the tendency to ape Western art without real understanding. In Non-Expressive Painting (Fei biaoda huihua, 1985), he used a roulette to determine the colour and composition of his paintings. Gao Minglu identified this as the second of Huang’s four periods: anti-artistic affectation; anti-self expression/ anti-formalism; anti-art; and anti-history. ‘A History of Chinese Painting’ and ‘A Concise History of Modern Painting’ Washed in a Washing Machine for Two Minutes (Zhongguo huihuashi yü xiandai huihua jianshi, 1987) is representative of the latter phase. In this work the quintessential doctrines of Eastern and Western high art are compounded to form a pile of mulch.
Huang moved to France in 1989.
Gao, Minglu (1998). ‘From Elite to Small Man: The Many Faces of a Transitional Avant-Garde in Mainland China’. In Gao Minglu (ed.), Inside/Out New Chinese Art. Berkeley: University of California Press, 149–66.
Huang, Yongping (1983). ‘Tan wode jizhang hua’ [On a Few of My Paintings]. Meishu (January): 22–6.
——(1986). ‘Xiamen Dada—yizhong houxiandai?’ [Xiamen Dada—A Kind of Post-Modernism?] Zhongguo meishubao 46:1.
Lü, Peng and Yi, Dan (1992). ‘Xiamen xin dada’. In Zhongguo xiandai yishushi [A History of Modern Art in China]. Changsha: Hunan meishu chubanshe, 281–7.
van Dijk, Hans (1994). ‘The Fine Arts after the Cultural Revolution: Stylistic Development and Theoretical Debate’. In Jochen Noth, Wolfger Puhlmann, Kai Reschke and Andreas Schmid (eds), China Avant-Garde Counter-Currents in Art and Culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 14–39.
EDUARDO WELSH

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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