Artists

Hu Xiangqian

b. 1970, Guangdong Province, China

Hu Xiangqian was born in the Guangdong Province in 1983, he lives and works in Beijing.

Hu is known for his absurd and humoristic performance and video works, which challenge the boundaries between fiction and reality in a variety of ways. Several of the artist’s works are reminiscent of physical theatre in the sense that he uses his own body to perform strange actions that often take place in public spaces. In 2006, when the artist was only 22 years old, he staged a fictional election campaign for the position of mayor of the city of Nanting, which was documented in the video work Blue Flags Everywhere (2006). Hu’s peculiar works contrast with the performances of the first generation of Chinese performance artists of the 1980s and 90s, which were often critical of the regime and involved physical violence.

The video Trend Blindy shows a group of models of high-rise buildings that the artist launched on the Zhujiang River in Guangzhou. The buildings are made of polystyrene, and at first glance might look real, but the viewer soon realises that the river’s currents cause the lightweight polystyrene to rock from side to side in the water. It would not take much to knock the small skyscrapers over and make them vanish in the river. Placing the polystyrene buildings on a river can be interpreted as a symbol of humanity’s fragile relationship with the natural environment. The work evokes associations with the rapid urbanisation of modern China and how this has created severe environmental problems.

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