'For all their ubiquity, life and death have not been fully explored as integral themes in many forms of contemporary Chinese art. Life and Death addresses that lacuna. Exploring the strategies employed by a variety of Chinese artists who engage with these timeless concerns, Silvia Fok opens a new line of inquiry about contemporary art in a rapidly changing environment.

'Fok focuses, in particular, on the ways in which these artists use their own bodies, animals’ bodies, and other corporeal substances to represent life and death in performance art, installations, and photography. Over the course of her investigations, corporeality emerges as a common means of highlighting the social and cultural issues that surround these themes. By assessing its effectiveness in the expression of life, death, and related ideas, Fok ultimately illuminates the extent to which we can see corporeality as a significant trend in the history of contemporary art in China. Her conclusions will fascinate scholars of performance and installation art, photography, and contemporary Chinese art.' (Back Cover)

Includes bibliographies and index.
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Chapter headings
Chapter 1: Life, Death and the Body in Art in the PRC
The production and reception of contemporary Chinese art
The artist's body as a revolutionary tool in contemporary Chinese art: Somatic perception and criticism
Life, death and the body in art
Tactile materiality of corpse in art
Tactile materiality of skull in art
Overview of the book
Chapter 2: The Role of the Body in Representing Death in Art: Simulation of Death versus Dying in the Name of Art versus Photography Documenting Dying and Death
Simulation of death
- Wei Guangqing, Suicide Project, 1988
- Lanzhou Art Army, Funeral/ Burial, 1993
- The SHS Group, Big Glass, Paradise in a Dream, 1993
- Huang Yan, Lying on the Rail, Suicide/ Murder News, 1996
- Zhu Gang, Obituary, 1999
- Zhou Bin, A Traffic Accident Scene, 1999
- Xing Danwen, Urban Fiction, 2004-present
Dying in the name of art
- Qi Li, Ice Burial, 1992
- Zhang Shengquan (Da Zhang), Dying on 1 January 2000
Photography documenting dying and death
- Wang Youshen, Before and After Grandmother Passed Away, 1989-1995
- Song Yongping, My Parents, 1999-2001
Chapter 3: Animal Body in Art
Human body interacting with animal body
- Zhang Peili, Document of Hygiene No. 3, 1991
- Dai Guangyu, Incontinence, 2005
- Wang Jin, To Marry a Mule, 1995
- Wang Chuyu, Pigeon Dinner, 1999
- Zhang Shengquan, To Cross/ To Carry a Goat, 1996
- Sun Yuan and Xiao Yu, Herdsman, 1998
- Xu Zhen, But I Don't Need Anything (I'm Not Asking for Anything), 1999
- Wu Gaozhong, Birthday on 28 May, 2000
- Sun Yuan and Peng Yu, A Safe Island, 2003
Animal bodies interacting among one another
- Xu Bing, A Case Study of Cultural Transference, 1994
- Sun Yuan and Peng Yu, Dogs Cannot Touch Each Other: Controversy Model, 2003
Display of living and dead animal body
- Xiao Yu, Ruan, 1999
- Yang Maoyuan, Inflated Horse, 2001
- Xu Bing, Wild Zebra, 2002
Chapter 4: Corporeal Materials in Art
Human body interacting with body parts
- Zhu Yu, Basics of Total Knowledge No. 4, 1998-1999
- Zhu Yu, Skin Graft, 2000
Human body interacting with corpses
- Sun Yuan and Peng Yu, Body Link, 2000
- Zhu Yu, Eating People, 2000
- Zhu Yu, Sacrifice: Feed a Dog with His Child, 2002
Human ashes as material in art
- Dai Guangyu, Be Lost, 1999
- Sun Yuan and Peng Yu, One or All, 2004
- Xu Bing, Where Does the Dust Collect?, 2004
Human blood as material in art
- Yang Zhichao, Macau, 2005
Human hair as material in art
- Leung Mee Ping, Memorise the Future, 1998-2002
- Gu Wenda, United Nations - China Monument: The Great Wall of People, 2004
- He Chengyao, The Possibility of Hair, 2006
Human body as material in art
- Yang Zhichao and Ai Weiwei, Hide, 2002
- Yang Zhichao, Revelation No. 1: Earth, 2004
- He Yunchang, A Rib/ Night Light, 2008-2009
Chapter 5: Transformative Roles of the Body in Art
The role of the human body from manipulating representation to presentation of ideas
The role of the animal body from object of representation to subject of art or art materials
The role of corporeal materials from subject of representation to art materials
Life, death and the body represented through technology in contemporary Chinese art
- Song Dong, Touching My Father (Parts 1-3), 1997, 2002-2011, 2011
- Song Dong, Listening to My Family Talking about How I Was Born, 2001
- Song Dong, Father and Son with My Daughter, 1998-2010
- Song Dong, Chinese Medicine Healing Story, 2004-2011
Conclusion: The significance of the body in contemporary Chinese art as a whole
Life & Death: Art and the Body in Contemporary China
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Life & Death: Art and the Body in Contemporary China