China’s Resistance Art Beyond Ai Weiwei

Oiwan Lam at Global Voices Online looks at Chinese art-activist Li Ning and his art group, the Body Art Guerrilla Group, Made-in-J Town. Their work examines forced demolition in Shandong, opposes fees for selecting schools, and laments the negative power of money:

Li Ning (李凝) the Body Art Guerrilla Group, Made-in-J Town (凌雲焰肢體游擊隊), are among one of the most interesting groups. Recently, they released three action art performances from 2008 through Youtube. The year of the Beijing Olympics – 2008 – dissent voices in the country faced the harshest repression. The 11-year imprisonment of Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, because of his Charter 08 initiative, is the most well-known example. These videos from 2008 give a glimpse into the resistance culture among young people in China.

[…] 2008 is the year of Beijing Olympic. In order to show the strength of the country, demolition had taken place in all major cities. Even though Jinan was not the hosting city, the scale of demolition and re-development had been huge. Li Ning and Body Art Guerrilla Group, Made-in-J Town, produced a short video showing the Olympic Torch relay in Jinan and the demolition. In the video, Li Ning performs the flesh and blood in the demolition scene, which creates a sharp contrast with the propaganda of the torch relay.

See Li Ning’s works (Warning: NSFW):


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