Wander through Beijing’s crowded Tiananmen Square and you may come across Han BingÔºàÈü©ÂÖµÔºâ walking a cabbage on a leash. Han’s cabbage is not a one-act vegetable; it’s walked on the Great Wall, along the beach at the resort town of Qinhuangdao, and in the idyllic village of Suzhou. “Walking the Cabbage””like all the works by Han, a performance artist”is a pointed commentary on China’s rush to modernize and its captive embrace of rampant materialism. “I want people to see how much of our daily lives are routines that we’ve blindly absorbed,” says the 31-year-old graduate of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, China’s top art school.
Han is part of a new generation of Chinese artists seeking novel and vibrant ways to make sense of their country’s economic boom. They are rejecting the political pop imagery and satirical portraits of Mao that propelled their predecessors into the global spotlight, instead choosing to present China as a pluralistic, capitalistic society. Products of the go-go generation, these twenty- and thirtysomething artists are too young to remember the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution. Nor have they had to live in fear of being persecuted or imprisoned for their art, like many of their creative forebears, including Zhang Xiaogang and Wang Guangyi. “China’s young creators have gained the self-confidence to express a brand-new China,” says Chinese contemporary art dealer Michael Goedhuis…. [Full Text]