AAA presents a selection of digitised archival documentation surrounding the 1989 ‘China/Avant-Garde Exhibition’ in Beijing—a historically significant contemporary art exhibition initiated by artists. It was one of the earliest endeavours to comprehensively showcase experimental artwork in a national art institute in China.
The concept of the exhibition stemmed from the Zhuhai Conference in 1986 after attending artists viewed the ‘Large-Scale Slide Exhibition of New Wave Art’. An exhibition of original works of contemporary art was subsequently planned for July 1987 at the Beijing Agricultural Exhibition Centre, but was postponed due to the Anti-Bourgeois Liberalism Campaign of the same year. Discussions around the exhibition resumed in 1988 at the China Modern Art Conference in Huangshan, and in February 1989, the landmark ‘China/Avant-Garde Exhibition’ finally opened at the National Art Museum of China.
Drawing material from various AAA archives, in particular the repositories of Lu Peng 呂澎, Fei Dawei 費大為, and Wang Youshen 王友身, the selection below covers the historic exhibition from its conceptualisation, to its development and reception. The archival documentation is accompanied by a corresponding shortlist for further reading.