Artists

Liu Chuang

1978, Hubei, China

Liu Chuang was born in the Hubei Province in 1978, he lives and works in Beijing.

He studied art in the city Shenzhen in the Pearl River Delta area, which has been nicknamed “the factory of the world” since China’s liberalisation of the economy in the 1980s. The experience of living in Shenzhen has left its mark on Liu’s artistic practice, which is characterised by social projects with a critical edge that explores China’s socio-political reality. Buying Everything on You was created after Liu visited a job centre in Shenzhen, where he handed out small cards stating that he would purchase all of the personal belongings of the people passing by. On the floor in front of you are two of these collections from men that went so far as to sell everything they had on them in order to pursue their search for a job and money. Objects such as clothing, mobile phones, knives, cigarette lighters, public documents and photographs reveal a great deal about a person’s identity and social status. The clothes and documents they left behind bear witness to lives that have been lived, and at the same time they prove that everything has a price. It is commonplace among young Chinese to use clothes and accessories such as mobile phones as identity markers and status symbols. This stands in sharp contrast to the previous generation’s use of the “Mao suit” as a symbol of solidarity with the workers. The work emerges as a stinging commentary on the rapid economic development of China today and the consequences this can have for the individual.

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