The Documenting Contemporary Art of Northwest China (Lanzhou) Collection contains over 2,000 items. The majority of them are documentation of artworks, writings, correspondences, photos, and personal records dating from the early 1970s to 2016, which capture the work and lives of six contemporary artists from Gansu Province. The collection also comprises primary documents of ten art events that took place in Lanzhou, the capital city of Gansu, between 1981 and 2006. The collection was gathered by Asia Art Archive researcher Congyang Xie from 2017 to 2019, as part of a larger research and archival project that focuses on the understudied contemporary art practices in Gansu, Xinjiang, Qinghai, and Ningxia. The project addresses the lack of primary material on contemporary art in the vast regions beyond major art centres in China.

The collection is organised into two series. The first, Individual Files, consists of six subfolders, one for each of the following artists: Cheng Li, Gao Bo, Jin Le, Liu Xinhua, Ma Qizhi, and Yang Zhichao. The six individuals, all with different educational and social backgrounds, maintain a wide range of art practices. The majority of materials are photographs of artworks, portfolios, statements, drafts, documents, clippings, videos, and personal records that document the artists’ work. There are also artists’ documentation of their solo shows, as well as exhibitions they participated in outside of Lanzhou. Some folders contain correspondences, photographs, essays, and diaries that reflect the artists’ personal life. Highlights include Cheng Li’s diaries dating from 1976 to 1996; reproductions of early paintings by Yang, Liu, and Ma, who are more commonly known for their performances; and Jin Le’s photos of the Fuck Off exhibition (Shanghai, 2000). For the artists’ biographies and further information, please see descriptions of individual subfolders.

The second series, Lanzhou Art Events, is organised in chronological order, and contains primary documents of nine group exhibitions and events that took place in Lanzhou from 1981 to 2006. The bulk consists of ephemera, artist’s statements, and photographs and clippings of exhibitions held between the 1980s and early 1990s. They include the Sound of Spring Painting Exhibition of Young Artists (1981); Painting Exhibitions at Home (1982); 85.8 Modern Art Exhibition (1985); Rolling on Canvas (1987); the Art Show Fundraiser for the Asian Games (1990), and CCLL Art Show (1992). The files for Funeral, an event organised in 1992–93 by the art group Lanzhou Artist Army, are particularly comprehensive, and include photographs, texts, reproductions of props, scrapbooks, booklets, and other documents produced during the event.


192 Folders, 2047 Records