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Course & Subject Guides

Chinese Apartment Art - from Gao Minglu Archive

This library guide is an overview of the exhibition, "Chinese Apartment Art: Primary Documents from Gao Minglu’s Archive, 1970s-90s."

Intro to Household Art Practice and Display

Exhibition View - Section III

An exhibition view of Household Practices and Display section.

After the 1989 governmental shut down of the student democracy movement, the creation and exhibition of contemporary art was deemed illegal and many artists moved abroad to escape China’s oppressive cultural and political environment. The result in many urban centers was that artists began making and exhibiting artwork in the privacy of their own homes. Apartment art in the early 1990s in China differs from the salon-style apartment art in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s in that artists created very concept-driven art installations that responded directly to their living spaces. Whereas earlier salon-style apartment art exhibitions tended to display abstract oil painting, apartment art in the ‘90s was primarily made of domestic materials such as furniture, paper, thread, and clothing and were only exhibited for a short period before they were destroyed. The audience base also differed. In the ‘70s and ‘80s the invited audience was more wide-ranging, included various members of the domestic and international art community as well as foreign diplomats who were seen as potential buyers. However, in the 1990s the invited audience generally consisted of the artists themselves and a few close friends. These artists, many of them couples, took turns inviting each other to their apartments to share their works and discuss art-related issues. This trend was fueled by the fact that many of these artists returned to China in the early ‘90s after living abroad for a number of years, bringing back with them new international perspectives on contemporary art.

This section of the exhibition includes photographs and other forms of documentation of works by Song Dong and Yin Xiuzhen, Zhu Jinshi and Qin Yufen, Lin Tianmiao and Wang Gongxin, Wang Youshen, Shi Yong, and Wang Jin. Through common themes such the everyday, temporality, and ephemerality, these artists explore the relationship between avant-garde art space and society at large.

Selected Art Works

Wang Youshen 王友身 (b. 1964)
Nutritious Soil, Bed, 2009

Lin Tianmiao 林天苗 (b. 1961)
Bound Unbound 1, 1995-1997

Wang Gongxin 王功新 (b. 1960)
The Bicycle, 1995

Zhu Jinshi 朱金石 (b. 1954)
Water of Houhai, 1995

Song Dong 宋冬 (b. 1966)
Secret, 1995

List of Exhibited Items

Unless otherwise indicated, all documents are reproductions courtesy of the Gao Minglu Archive.

Wang Youshen 王友身(b. 1964)

  1. Nutritious Soil: Greenhouse Plan 2, 1996. Black ink on paper.
  2. Nutritious Soil: Greenhouse Plan 1, 1996. Black ink on paper.
  3. Nutritious Soil: Greenhouse, 1999. Installation.
  4. Nutritious Soil, Exhibition view, 1996. Installation.
  5. Nutritious Soil: My Father 2, 1994. Color photograph.
  6. Nutritious Soil: My Father 1,1994. Color photograph.
  7. Nutritious Soil, Plan 2,1994. Black ink on paper.
  8. Nutritious Soil: Greenhouse, 1996. Installation.
  9. Nutritious Soil, Bed,2009. Installation.
  10. Nutritious Soil,1994. Installation.
  11. Nutritious Soil,1994. Installation.
  12. Nutritious Soil,1994. Installation.
  13. Nutritious Soil,1994. Installation.
  14. Nutritious Soil,1994. Installation.

Lin Tianmiao 林天苗(b. 1961)

  1. The Proliferation of Thread Winding  (detail),1995. Installation.
  2. The Proliferation of Thread Winding  (detail),1995. Installation.
  3. The Proliferation of Thread Winding  (detail),1995. Installation.
  4. The Temptation of St. Theresa(detail), 1995, installation.
  5. The Proliferation of Thread Winding(detail), 1995. Installation.
  6. Random Thoughts on Thread Winding (artist statement), n.d. Ink on paper.
  7. The Temptation of St. Theresa (detail), 1995. Installation.
  8. The Temptation of St. Theresa (detail), 1995. Installation.
  9. What I Feel in a Wooden Box (artist statement), n.d. Ink on paper.
  10. Bound Unbound 2, 1995-1997. Installation.
  11. Bound Unbound 4, 1995-1997. Installation.
  12. The Proliferation of Thread Winding (detail), 1995. Installation.
  13. Bound Unbound 3, 1995-1997. Installation.
  14. Bound Unbound 1,1995-1997. Installation.

Wang Gongxin 王功新(b. 1960)

  1. The Bicycle, 1995. Installation.
  2. Sky of Brooklyn, exhibition opening in artist’s apartment, 1995. Color photograph. Courtesy of the artist.
  3. The Sky of Brooklyn,process montage 1, 1995. Color photograph. Courtesy of the artist.
  4. The Old Bench, 1995. Installation with video. Courtesy of the artist.
  5. The Old Bench, 1995. Installation with video. Courtesy of the artist.
  6. The Sky of Brooklyn,1995. Installation with video. Courtesy of the artist.
  7. The Sky of Brooklyn, 1995. Installation with video.
  8. The Sky of Brooklyn, process montage 2, 1995. Color photograph.

Zhu Jinshi 朱金石(b. 1954)

  1. ZenChair, 1995. Installation.
  2. Untitled, 1995. Installation.
  3. Protect the Sunflowers, 1995. Performance.
  4. Water of Houhai, 1995. Installation.
  5. Clock, 1995. Installation.
  6. Fang Zhen Project: A Cubic Chinese Paper in Beijing, 1988. Installation.
  7. Landscape Legal Case (detail), 1995. Installation.
  8. Ward, 1994. Installation.
  9. Berlin 12, 1989. Installation.
  10. Untitled, 1995. Installation.
  11. Rice Paper on the Water Surface, 1995. Performance.
  12. Water of Houhai, 1995. Installation.
  13. Houhai Knot, 1995. Performance.
  14. Fang Zhen Project: A Cubic Linen in Berlin, 1988. Installation.
  15. Bird Nest, 1995. Installation.
  16. Broadcasting Car, 1995. Installation.
  17. A Pile of Rice Paper, 1994. Installation.
  18. Untitled, 1995. Installation.
  19. Houhai Flax, 1995. Installation.
  20. Temporary House, 1995. Installation.
  21. Old Building, No. 1, 1994. Installation.
  22. Old Building, No. 2, 1994. Installation.
  23. Old Building, No. 3, 1994. Installation.

Song Dong 宋冬(b. 1966)

  1. Stele Stump, 1995. Installation.
  2. ?, 1994. Installation.
  3. Nest, 1994. Installation.
  4. Days, 1994. Installation.
  5. Chinese Medicine, 1995. Performance.
  6. A Kettle of Boiling Water, 1995. Performance. 
  7. Culture Noodles, 1994. Installation.
  8. Water Writing Diary, 1995. Performance.
  9. Secret, 1995. Performance.
  10. Tablet Room, 1995. Installation. 
  11. Tablet Room, 1995. Installation. 
  12. Penetrating, Absorbing, 1994. Installation.
  13. Culture Noodles, 1994. Installation.
  14. Art is by Your Side, 1992-1993. Black ink on paper.

Yin Xiuzhen 尹秀珍(b. 1963)

  1. Wool,1995. Installation.

Wang Jin 王晋(b. 1962)

  1. Flash Stir-Frying RMB, 1995. Performance.

Shi Yong 石勇(b. 1963)

  1. The Site of Sound Amplifying: Echoes in a Private Space. Installation. Courtesy of the artist.