CHEN Shaoxiong

Ink Media  (2013), video still, courtesy of Ms Luo Qingmin

Ink Media (2013), video still, courtesy of Ms Luo Qingmin


Ink media

2013, video, B&W, sound, 3’45”

The so-called street political protests, demonstrations and gatherings often take place in all sorts of public squares in the city. Such phenomena have a long history and we can see more rapid development and propagation today, with the aid of the Internet, triggering different virtual public squares in all kinds of social media networks, live-broadcast images that are heart- wrenching, showing violent and bloody scenes in full detail. There is no longer any distinction between people who are eyewitnesses and those who take part in the actions, between those who are present and those who are not, because everybody brings their own perspective with their cameras, while people who watch these images on their computers can log in or log out as they want. Media offer a more complete landscape, and it appears to have more vitality than the real, material world today. There was a time when paintings lived longer than humans, and photos were more convincing than history books, yet today, Google opens a door to a world with larger and deeper spatio-temporal dimensions. The world seen by the retina is of course not enough; the fragments of society that lenses and digital technology have captured are being pieced into a macroscopic picture of global politics through Internet. Facebook, Youtube and the like are broadcasting live immense current event reports by commentators who are everybody. We are living in a world where “one door opens while another closes,” where media is also reality. Yet what affects us the most is street politics, which is transparent, visually powerful, dynamic and dramatic, and is related to the utterable and unutterable political stance that everyone keeps in themselves. Court politics is opaque, parliamentary politics is semi- transparent, while street politics is totally naked.


CHEN Shaoxiong

Born in Shantou, 1962 – 2016

A founding member of the Big Tail Elephants Group – a collective of conceptual artists working in Guangzhouin the 1990s – and later a member of the Asian artistcollectives Xijing Men (with Tsuyoshi OZAWA and Gimhongsok) and Project without Space (with LIU Ding),CHEN Shaoxiong was best known for his humorous andironic takes on geopolitical, social and urban issues.He utilises a wide range of media for his works fromphotography, video and installation, to ink painting andcollage. His work has been featured in internationalbiennales, including Venice Biennale, Gwangju Biennale, Lyon Biennale, Guangzhou Triennial and Shanghai Biennale, as well as major institutions, such as MoMA PS1 and the International Center of Photography in New York, Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Kunsthalle Bern in Switzerland, Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin, Tate Liverpool and Mori Art Museum in Tokyo.