Transience: Chinese Experimental Art at the End of the Twentieth Century is a thoughtful and tightly focused exploration of certain themes ― “Demystification”, “Ruins”, and “Transience” ― which Wu Hung (curator of the exhibition) has identified as critical to a broader understanding of artistic production in China now. It is through this focused approach, we believe, that Western audiences can better develop a contextualized understanding to an international discourse about the nature of contemporary art in this postmodern age. In its focus on individual artists, their lives, and career trajectories, and on close readings of individual works, all in the context of the exhibition’s organizing themes, “Transience” constitutes a new voice in the current fast-paced discussion about contemporary Chinese artistic practice and its place in a broader, post-national scheme of cultural understanding.’ ― Director of the David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art, the University of Chicago

This catalogue was published in conjunction with the exhibition. It includes a checklist of the exhibits, a selected bibliography and a glossary of Chinese names and terms. Biographies of the artists and a survey of contemporary Chinese art are provided in the appendixes.

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Introduction -- Pushing the Limits: Chinese Experimental Art from 1979 to 1999

Demystification -- Counter-Monument: Xu Bing 'Ghosts Pounding the Wall'
Demystification -- Anti-Writing: Wenda Gu 'Pseudo Seal-Script'
Demystification -- Nothing Beyond the Gate: Zhang Hongtu 'Studs'
Demystification -- Mao Revisited: Xing Danwen 'Born with the Cultural Revolution'
Demystification -- Still Breathing: Song Dong 'Breathing'
Demystification -- Remembering: Mo Yi 'Made by the Police Department 1 and 2'
Demystification -- Silence: Sui Jianguo 'Earthly Force'
Demystification -- Representing the Ordinary: Yu Fan 'My Mother'
Ruins -- Rotten Red: Cai Jin 'Beauty Banana Plant No.48'
Ruins -- Fragmentation as Creation: Shi Chong 'The Stage'
Ruins -- Human Waste: Yuan Dongping 'Sisters'
Ruins -- Speaking the Unspeakable: Zhang Huan '12 Square Meters'
Ruins -- Demolition Project: Zhan Wang 'Temptation'
Ruins -- Ruin Pictures: Rong Rong 'Untitled'
Ruins -- Sealed Memory: Yin Xiuzhen 'Suitcase'
Transience -- Surface: Zhan Wang 'Ornamental Rock'
Transience -- State of Being: Zhu Fadong 'This Person Is For Sale'
Transience -- Zero Gravity: Yu Hong ' Flying'
Transience -- Interior Time/Space: Zeng Hao '5:00 p.m. in the Afternoon'
Transience -- Translucency: Wang Jin 'A Chinese Dream'
Transience -- Fallen Angels: Liu Zheng 'Peking Opera Scenes'
Transience -- Invisibility: Qiu Zhijie 'Tattoo 1 and 2'
Coda -- A Brief Reflection on the Study of Contemporary Chinese Experimental Art
Appendixes -- One: Biographies of the Artists - Kris Imants ERCUMS
Appendixes -- Two: A Survey of Contemporary Chinese Art - Kris Imants ERCUMS
Transience: Chinese Experimental Art at the End of the Twentieth Century
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Transience: Chinese Experimental Art at the End of the Twentieth Century