Gu Dexin - May 2nd, 2009
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[楼主] art-pa-pa 2009-04-22 17:25:58

Gu Dexin - May 2nd, 2009 |

Opening Saturday May 2nd, 2009

# 8503, Dashanzi 798 Art Factory, 2 Jiuxianqiao Road, Chaoyang Dst. Beijing, 100015 China

中国,北京市朝阳区酒仙桥路2号,大山子798 艺术工厂,8503信箱, 邮编:100015
tel. 0086/10 59789505 | fax. 0086/10 59789774 |

[沙发:1楼] art-pa-pa 2009-05-04 19:06:13





“…to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”
Shakespeare- Hamlet 


Since 2005, Galleria Continua has hosted significant and demanding exhibitions. Artists are invited to express them selves through an intimate dialogue with the wholly exigent space, to engage its dimensions and its strong characteristics.

Gu Dexin’s starting point for his solo exhibition at Galleria Continua/Beijing was to leave the space as vacant and untouched as possible; to let the air fill in the gap between ‘reality’ and people’s perception of it; to avoid exercising ’POWER’ on any front.

The title of the exhibition, as for each of his projects, is represented simply by a date, signifying the opening and simultaneous closing of an event. For the artist, it indicates a conclusion, but for others, it is a beginning.
The exhibition contemplates messages of guilt and redemption. Over our heads, a tormented bundle of clouds flows unceasingly, preceding the human sense of time.

Gu Dexin’s interpretation of space is contemplative and measured; it, takes into account the gallery’s singular history, dimension, and location. He does not normally offer us a profound conceptual explanation of his work, but allows it to speak for itself. Often monumental in scale and site specific, his installation works communicate by appealing to the viewer at first sight and thence transporting us to the exceptional depth of the artist’s idea. Through this, and through Gu Dexin’s exceptional ability for visual expression, the distance between the viewer’s senses and thoughts is eliminated; the work reaches the heart and the mind on a deeply profound level.

Gu Dexin is an extremely peaceful person. His ideas about art, life, and his personal mode of living have always been intimately related, constantly sustaining one another with extreme coherence. Through art, Gu Dexin expresses and amuses himself and others. For Gu Dexin, art, as a medium, has never been a way to impose ideas, nor a way to exercise any sort of power. On the other hand, art has never held an indispensable meaning or position in his life; perfect equilibrium has always been sought and deeply pondered.

With a career as an ‘artist’, or, as he would probably prefer to say, as “a person who likes to play”, spanning more than thirty years, Gu Dexin has always maintained a firmly humble position. Initially he fought to express his ideals together with young colleagues through exhibitions, performances and installations that were becoming prevalent towards the end of the seventies. Later, he fought to keep a ‘low profile’ and to maintain a simple lifestyle whilst becoming more widely recognized. He has felt strongly about preventing the feverish art world from taking control of his thoughts and, most importantly, his life.

Unlike many others of his controversial contemporaries, Gu Dexin has always lived in China; he never left his hometown of Beijing, nor his small, comfortable apartment in the district of He Pingli. Always interested in following the subtle nuances of his native world, and unable to ignore the reality when it has been distressing, he has built a harmonious place to live quietly and work on his own. It has been a lifelong spiritual and intellectual engagement with his own thoughts, sometimes with fears, sometimes with loneliness.

Once the mind of Gu Dexin is ‘caught up’ in a project for inhabiting a new space, his work reaches impressive dimensions and characteristics. He brings the viewer to a world that seems surreal and fascinating, but which, in depth, represents a situation from reality – a weird dangerous and mistrustful world that hides unexpected cruelties such as the vacuous existence of the individual, the fragility of life itself. These moments of ‘truth’ seem so familiar to Gu Dexin, perhaps because of his elevated and deeply developed integrity.

Since the dawn of time, humankind has contemplated the dim recesses of the psyche, searching inwardly for an abundant world where life is harmonious and balanced. In our present world this daunting time of new beginnings, our longing continues, not for a new place nor one from the past, but for a world transformed, a world where respect for all is the conscious order of things.

It is this sort of mad lucidity, which encircles Gu Dexin’s way of being and ‘doing’. It enables spectators to realise that we are surrounded by a forceful ‘politics of power’, a muffled world in which equal opportunities, justice and freedom are imbued with threats… 

Gu Dexin was born in Beijing in 1962. He currently lives and works in Beijing. Over the past thirty years, Gu Dexin has exhibited extensively in China and world-wide. He has participated internationally in many group shows including Les Magiciens de la Terre, Center Georges Pompidou, Paris, France (1989); China’s New Art Post (1989); Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong (1993); China Avant-garde, Haus der Kulturen, Berlin, Germany; Kunsthal, Rotterdam, Holland; Museum Of Modem Art, Oxford, U. K.; Kunsthallen Brandts Klaedefabrik, Odense, Denmark (1993); Dreams and conflicts, la Biennale di Venezia (2003); China Power Station: Part 1 Serpentine Gallery Presents London (2006); ‘85 new wave-the birth of Chinese contemporary art. UCCA Beijing (2007); The Real Thing, Contemporary art From China Tate Liverpool.

Text source: Galleria Continua website  

[板凳:2楼] art-pa-pa 2009-05-04 19:08:56


[地板:3楼] art-pa-pa 2009-05-04 23:01:41

Everything on Gu Dexin, please click here:

Gu Dexin - Gu Dexin
[4楼] guest 2010-07-20 10:28:11
[5楼] guest 2010-11-05 14:42:58
Gu Dexin
Galleria Continua, Beijing, China
Gu Dexin’s exhibition offered a highly constrained amount of visual information yet created an elevated level of emotional and moral tension that was both gripping and disturbing at the same time. It was matter-of-factly entitled ‘2009–05–02’, the date of its opening (as all of his site-specific projects are). The following words were written repeatedly and continually in Chinese block characters in red lacquer, on wooden panels fixed above the eye level on all the walls on the ground floor of the otherwise empty gallery: ‘WE KILLED HUMANS WE KILLED MEN WE KILLED WOMEN WE KILLED THE OLD WE KILLED THE KIDS WE ATE HUMANS WE ATE HUMAN HEARTS. WE BEAT PEOPLE UNTIL THEY TURNED BLIND. WE SMASHED PEOPLE’S FACES.’ These words, stating acts of extreme violence and annihilation, had the grim appearance of the engravings on head stones – chilling revelations and accusations as if uttered by a stern voice from above. They unhinged any sense of assurance and balance, forcing us to ask ‘How do these situations concern me?’, ‘Could I be one of them?’, ‘Would I be the victim or the executor?’, ‘Where do I stand?’.
The windows of the gallery were blocked by old television sets, all of which showed the same looped video of unhurried and fluid cloud formations in a blue sky. It was such a peaceful and comforting presence that it provided a temporary relief from the immense strain of the wall texts below. Going up to the top floor of the gallery, one passed through the second floor – which was in pitch darkness. There was nothing there. A momentary and partial deprivation of sight, a grip of apprehension – an experience not to be missed. On the third floor there were two more projections of the looped cloud video. As the artist had promised us on the ground floor, we had arrived in heaven – ‘WE CAN GO TO HEAVEN’ was the sentence written twice in the same red lacquer and positioned on a wooden panel slightly elevated above the centre of the ground space’s floor. But could anyone really shake off the lingering sense of anxiety and guilt triggered by the sentences on the wall? Those words, simple as they appeared, had cast a spell.
Gu Dexin – who became known for working with perishable materials such as fruits, meat and animal intestines, which he left to rot in the exhibition space – has now taken a drastically different approach, albeit possibly with the same issue in mind: what lasts and what doesn’t? While most of Gu Dexin’s former installations touched upon our bodily senses in the bluntest way, ‘2009–05–02’ spoke directly to something much more inescapable. There was no way to ignore the contrast between the bloodshed conjured by the words and the eternal serenity suggested by the videos. The exhibition brought up the question of art’s responsibility towards our world, asking how can a work of art discuss fundamentally human subjects such as atrocity and salvation? The least it can do perhaps is to provide a space for thinking, reminiscing and looking forward, which is what Gu Dexin’s did here, in a beautiful and forceful way.
Carol Yinghua Lu
[6楼] guest 2011-01-19 13:39:42


A tour of dictators' cribs.



来自周华.E.克汀 2010年六月23日

Updated on Jan. 14, 2011, following the overthrow of Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.




Country: Tunisia


Lifestyle: There are a number of factors that led to the week of street protests and riots that overwhelmed President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali's regime in January 2011, including widespread unemployment, rising food prices, and restrictions on civil liberties. But one major source of Tunisians' widespread rage was the conspicuous consumption of Ben Ali's extended family, particularly the relatives of his second wife, Leila Trabelsi. "No, no to the Trabelsis who looted the budget" was a popular chant among the hundreds of mostly young men who took to the streets of the coastal resort of Hammamet -- where the Trabelsis have built a number of opulent beachfront estates -- as they ransacked mansions, burned all-terrain vehicles, and even liberated a horse from its stable.


The opulent lifestyles of Ben Ali's relatives were laid bare in a series of U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks, particularly one describing a dinner at the home of his son-in-law, Mohamed Sakhr el-Materi. Materi's Hammamet mansion featured, among other luxuries, "an infinity pool and a terrace of perhaps 50 meters." Roman artifacts, which the host insisted were real, abounded, including a "lion's head from which water pours into the pool." The ambassador and his wife were fed a massive dinner, including more than a dozen dishes and frozen yogurt flown in by plane from Saint-Tropez.


Materi also owned a pet tiger, which he kept in a cage on his compound and consumed four chickens a day. All in all, the situation reminded U.S. Amb. Robert Codec, who had served as an advisor to the transitional government in Iraq and signed the cable, of Uday Hussein's opulent lifestyle.


Not content with buying their own luxuries, Ben Ali's relatives had also taken to appropriating them from others. Another leaked State Department cable describes a 2006 incident in which Imed and Moaz Trabelsi, Ben Ali's nephews through his wife, reportedly stole a $3 million yacht belonging to a prominent French businessman from a dock in Corsica. The yacht reappeared a short time later in a Tunisian port having been repainted to cover its distinguishing characteristics. The French weren't fooled, however, and the yacht was returned to defuse a potential diplomatic uproar. Despite an Interpol warrant being issued for their arrest, the two were never punished.




Country: North Korea


Lifestyle: Reliable information about North Korea is hard to come by, but the Dear Leader is thought to have two residences in Pyongyang as well as 10 country chalets throughout North Korea -- and there are probably more if you include the country estates that belonged to his late father, Kim Il Sung. Many of these are reportedly connected to each other by private underground rail lines.


One of Kim's largest homes is a seven-story tower on the beach in South Hamgyong province, said to feature separate floors for Kim's family members and a unique underwater viewing room, three stories beneath the ocean's surface.


At another one of his estates, Kim is thought to enjoy body-boarding in an indoor wave pool, accompanied at all times by a young female doctor and nurse. (Whether these two actually have any medical training was a subject of some speculation from the rest of Kim's entourage, according to a former bodyguard.


At Kim's Pyongyang residences, he's known for throwing lavish, all-night drinking parties for his top officials, usually including a bevy of scantily clad young women. Just how trashed do North Korea's best and brightest get at these events? According to the Hennessy company, the hard-partying leader ordered more than half a million dollars worth of cognac during the 1990s.




Country: Zimbabwe


Lifestyle: Rampant inflation and an unemployment rate that has reached into the 90s haven't stopped 86-year-old President Robert Mugabe from living out his golden years in style. In 2008, Mugabe completed work on a new $26 million, 25-bath estate in a wealthy suburb of Harare, the country's capital. Millions more were spent decorating the place, including hiring a team of Middle Eastern artists who worked for a year to design the building's ceilings. It also comes with the latest in home-security technology -- a battery of anti-aircraft missiles donated by China. The project was all the more preposterous because Mugabe's "official" salary as president is only about $57,000 per year. When asked by a British reporter about the house, Mugabe simply replied, "It is lavish because it's attractive."


It was the third mansion built by Mugabe and the fifth he has owned since becoming president. In the late 1990s, his wife Grace caused an uproar when she used government funds meant to build low-cost housing for the poor to build herself a 30-room estate. "Graceland," as it became known, was later bought by Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi.


Apparently not satisfied with their spreads in Zimbabwe -- or perhaps preparing in case they need to make a quick getaway -- the Mugabes also spent nearly $6 million on a home in Hong Kong (above right), it was reported in 2009.




Country: Equatorial Guinea


Lifestyle: This West African country has been described as a "parody of an oil kleptocracy," and that's certainly true of the jet-setting life of its ruling family.. In addition to the presidential palace in the capital city of Malabo, President Teodoro Obiang has a summer place in Cape Town, South Africa as well as two mansions in Potomac, Maryland. He purchased the first for a cool $2.6 million in cash in 1999, and it reportedly includes 10 bathrooms, seven fireplaces, and an indoor pool. U.S.-based Riggs Bank financed his purchase of the second Maryland home for $1.15 million the next year, which became the subject of a investigation by the U.S. Congress. Obiang can travel in style between his properties on any his six private planes, one of which reportedly features a king-size bed and a bathroom with gold-plated taps.


Obiang's oldest son, nicknamed Teodorin, appears to be a chip off the old block, buying himself a fleet of Bentleys and Lamborghinis, properties in Spain and the Canary Islands, a California-based hip-hop label, and a $35 million Malibu mansion on the same street as Mel Gibson and Britney Spears. Not too shabby for a "minister of forestry" making an official salary of about $40,000.




Country: Gabon


Lifestyle: Ali Ben Bongo's father and predecessor, Omar Bongo, set a high standard for deluxe living, acquiring at least 45 homes in France, including a $27 million villa, a $1.5 million Bugatti sports car, and a dozen other cars over the course of his four decades in power. Members of the Bongo family have become famous for chartering 747s for their Paris shopping sprees.


After taking power in disputed election in 2009, Ali continued the family's interest in French real estate, shelling out a reported $120 million for an 18th-century mansion in the center of Paris. Located around the corner from the Musée d'Orsay in one of the city's toniest neighborhoods, the property boasts 4,500 square meters of living space stacked on top of 3,700 square meters of land.


Ali's Californian wife, Inge, also got in on the act for a while, appearing on the VH1 reality show Really Rich Real Estate, on which she was filmed putting down a $25 million bid for a mansion in Malibu. She also rented a $25,000-a-month home from rap mogul Sean "P. Diddy" Combs but later sued him for landlord neglect. The couple became estranged around five years ago, and Inge now claims to be living on food stamps in the United States.

阿里的加利福尼亚妻子英吉也在其中扮演了一段时间的角色,在VH1台的真实秀《真正富豪的不动产》上,英吉正在以2500万美元竞拍马里布一幢豪宅。她以 2.5万美元一个月的价格租了饶舌天王Sean "Puffy" Combs的一间房子,但随后以“房主疏忽罪”起诉了他。这对夫妻在5年前劳燕分飞,据说英吉现在在美国靠食物补助过活。



Country: Burma


Lifestyle: In 2005, Burma's notoriously secretive and superstitious military leaders moved their base of operations from the traditional capital Yangon (formerly Rangoon) to the unfinished outpost of Naypyidaw. The move was the result of security concerns, superstition (the site was reportedly picked on the advice of astrologers), and likely the junta's top brass's desire to live in luxury away from the former capital city's impoverished masses. Around $2 million was spent on each of the 50 top generals' houses and presumably millions more on the remote 100-room mansion occupied by Than Shwe, the junta's leader.


Than Shwe is obsessive about secrecy, but some details have begun to emerge of the dictator's lavish lifestyle. There are the frequent shopping trips to Singapore made by the first family (which senior general accompany Shwe on these trips are taken by many Burma watchers as a sign of who's on the way up in the regime). Than Shwe's 16-year-old grandson is reportedly a member of the Singapore Lamborghini Club. And the junta was embarrassed in 2006 when a 10-minute video was released showing the lavish wedding of Than Shwe's daughter (above left), Thandar Shwe, including a now-notorious shot of what appear to be diamonds woven into the bride's hair. The gifts at the party reportedly included cars and houses worth around $50 million.

丹瑞将军非常小心的保持隐秘,但这位独裁者奢侈的生活方式的一些细节还是暴露了出来。这个家庭经常去新加坡购物( 哪位高级将领被带去购物就预示了这位将军会高升)。据报道,丹瑞将军16岁的孙子是兰博基尼俱乐部的成员。在2006年,一段10分钟的视频让这个家族感到难堪。这段视频拍的是丹瑞将军女儿桑德秀的豪华婚礼。这张照片显示,桑德秀的头发上镶嵌的似乎都是钻石。这次婚宴的礼物包括价值约5000万美元的车和房。
[7楼] guest 2011-05-17 18:22:46
[8楼] guest 2011-06-19 11:10:42
[9楼] guest 2011-10-28 10:25:42

[10楼] guest 2011-11-26 09:27:35
Italian Feather brand Moncler and in the village of century Hiroki Nakamura led the Japanese brand hi-end Visvim, joint cooperation brand Moncler V, Moncler Boots body shoelace buckle close at a Moncler V classic sign symbol. Heel of Moncler brand Logo embossed and tongue at label is very eye-catching. The hiking boots if combined with Moncler Vest more full tide.
[11楼] guest 2011-11-28 17:01:00
GU Dexin
It is tempting to leave this space blank – it is what Gu Dexin would prefer – but it would not be of much
help for an audience unfamiliar with his work to get an idea of what makes Gu Dexin’s art ‘real’. Gu
Dexin likes to let his work speak for itself, which on the whole it does rather well, being often
monumental in scale, and directed at the eye and, above all, the senses. For the public, Gu Dexin’s
verbal diffidence cloaks the man with an air of mystery, which amuses even Gu Dexin given that he is,
in fact, endearingly down to earth. He just doesn’t like talking. Although he has particular views on art,
most of which revolve around the utter futility of ‘the system’, of its art schools and institutions, art
history and critical theory, it is rare to see him reveal even a hint of the formidable depths of his
convictions on the subject in public. He prefers to treat audiences to one of his signature enigmatic grins.
As might be presumed, such views were formed in response to the ad hoc definitions of ‘art’, and the
role of the artist, that were formulated by Mao in 1942 (at the famous Talks on Literature and Art in
Yan’an, Shaanxi province, where Mao outlined the goals of all creative expression and the role of those
who produced it, as spreading the word of socialist ideology), and which make Gu Dexin’s approach to
art all the more intriguing. The work remains unique in China for its use of site-specific space, of natural
materials, such as apples, fire, and even pig brains, and for its appeal to senses (works are often
drenched in perfume or carry the odour of putrification) other than just the mind or the intellect. It is
also unique for being conceived as installations before most artists in China had even heard the word.
Gu Dexin brings an immense level of intuition to his work, worked out of an instinctive feel for things
rather than being directed by external influences, with the result that the works are idiosyncratic, often
disturbing and bizarre, and completely original. Even today Gu Dexin does not visit museums or
exhibitions, or look at catalogues or art magazines. Yet, he exerts an extraordinary influence within
contemporary art circles in China, which can be attributed to his unorthodox invention, and the element
of anarchy he brings to art deployed in the most courteous of manners.
Gu Dexin’s initial contact with art was through painting, at the age of fifteen, alone, in a single room in a
dormitory complex just twelve metres square. His four elder sisters lived in the room at the time, but
worked during the day, permitting him to indulge his interest in art that his cadre parents vehemently
opposed, and thus where they couldn’t see him do it. For a brief period, when Gu Dexin married, the
cramped room was both home and studio. The couple now lives in a slightly larger apartment but the
walls are still hung from corner to corner with layer upon layer of the paintings that Gu Dexin made in
his teens. Of greater interest here, though, are the shelves littered with abstract, gruesome forms, or with
smooth-skinned, multiple-breasted beings, limbs and lips entwined, each of which appear to grow out
of a larger fertility mother, like an inverse stack of Russian dolls, which Gu Dexin sculpts from
children’s plasticine.
Perhaps Gu Dexin does not like to talk about his work as the words really cannot do the work justice,
beyond being obviously visceral, intoxicating as well as offensive, and always compelling. Often the
works will undergo some physical change during the course of an exhibition, and the majority of the
pieces are site-specific projects relevant to the time and place of the exhibitions in which he participates.
Without precise knowledge of the exhibition environment, or the specific location and environs of a
work, Gu Dexin is unable – and often unwilling – to conceive a plan for a work. The relationship
between location, and the physical nature of the place, as well as the cultural framework in which it is
sited, plays an enormous part in his choice of form, content and materials. Here, a site visit to Liverpool
allowed him to encounter the red lighthouse boat that inspired the work created for The Real Thing.
2007/03/30 (Lighthouse Funnel) 2007
Fascinated with the idea of the flashing lights and bold red surface of the monster steel structure, Gu
Dexin chose to recreate the grand funnel of the boat that served as the last working mobile lighthouse in
Liverpool. Once the idea took root, there was to be no changing it, even given the tremendous
challenges of finding the appropriate workers and materials to achieve the desired exactness of
replication. Working from archived engineering plans that came as close to the original blueprint as
possible, and from a good deal of creative improvisation, a team of factory workers from a local steel
plant—located two hours east of the capital in the northern port city of Tianjin— embarked upon the
process of recreating the structure for Gu Dexin’s chosen contribution to The Real Thing, working to a
scale identical to the original in almost every practicable detail. Importantly for the artist, in the final
work, which he predictably titled 2007/03/30 (Lighthouse Funnel)—2007/03/30 being the opening date of
the exhibition—the light swings in rhythmic warning circles as the original did in the boat’s working life.
The only modification that the artist elected to make was to add the element of sound to the final work.
Here, from the twelve loudspeakers that have been attached to the lower rim of the glass casing
surrounding the light, Gu Dexin blasts a cacophony of sound bites that he selected specifically for the
project. Within the confused din of the aural maelstrom the twelve recordings engender, we can still
pick out individual sounds that have come to symbolise specific cultures—the various tones of po:ice
car sirens being the most obvious example—as well as more mundane noises heard on city streets and
in the course of daily life—here, human cries mix with gurgling water, and a variety of loud bangs and
Each of Gu Dexin’s animation works has a distinctly evocative soundtrack: a sound chosen because it
helps to underscore the joke around which the cartoon sequences revolve. Gu Dexin began to
experiment with animation in 2002, following the acquisition of a computer in 2001, and having
mastered the use of Flash software. The first group of twenty animation works that resulted were
shown at the Fiftieth Venice Biennale in 2003. Since then he has created many, many more, all following
a similar format that is analogous to a cartoon strip. Firstly, the storylines are as to the point as an
episode of Andy Capp. Secondly, none are of more than twenty seconds duration: most are, in fact, less
than ten seconds long. Every single work in the series alludes, in one form or another, to abiding human
fears of failure, rejection, and humiliation, and conveys a sensibility that is in stark contrast to the
masculine aura of the installation and site-specific works, although still played out with the same degree
of visual violence. Here, it is a violence softened by the medium, and the average viewer’s familiarity
with the power of childlike simplistic forms to convey urgent social messages. Again, this is in contrast
to Gu Dexin’s general preferences for his installations which, courtesy of the natural, ‘biodegradable’
materials Gu Dexin uses to complete these three-dimensional works, are overtly masculine to the point
of being bombastic, hence the frequently shocking experience for the audience of confronting them. One
must assume that the contradictory emotions that are embodied in these two divergent seams of Gu
Dexin’s art are but a perfect expression of the balance of yin and yang in his character. Following this
logic, for this new work, the conjoining of humorous, childlike sounds with such a potently virile form
as the lighthouse boat funnel, reveals an equally perfect understanding of how the juxtaposition of
opposites contributes to a consummately powerful whole.
Karen J Smith
[12楼] guest 2011-11-28 17:05:25
Gu Dexin in 2009 /Fei DaweiBack .
Gu Dexin, 2009.05.02, Galleria Continua, Beijing, 2009

The exhibitions, both by Gu Dexin, “2009.3.14” at the Beijing Center for the Arts and “2009.05.02” at Galleria Continua, are, I believe, the best exhibitions I have seen this year.
Gu’s most valuable characteristic is his perseverance in his artistic creation. He never strives for superficial effects or pursues variations that are merely used to provoke the audience. From the first day he began his studies until this very moment, he has maintained a rare and honest attitude towards art-making; thus, his work is the art of necessity and the art of sincerity. There is no nonsense, no artificiality, no evasion, and no excessive exaggeration in his work. It is just so powerful, absolute, pure, and moving.
Since the 1980s, Gu’s art has undergone changes in form and of themes. However, these changes are actually reinforcements of his original beliefs, and they have deepened his artistic thinking. No matter if it was in the former era of material poverty, or the current era of spiritual poverty, his work embodies an undefeatable power and the dignity of art that cannot be bought in any case.
Gu’s artworks of the last few years, especially his solo exhibitions held in Shanghai, Nanjing, and Beijing, are of the highest quality of art one can see in China. The depth of his investigations into art, the castigation of human nature, the pursuit of meaning, as well as his grasp of spatial language, have reached a level where he is absolutely without competition. There are distinct comparisons to be made between his artwork and much of the other artwork that has flooded the Chinese art market, works which are often giant in size, empty in content, over-accessorized, and cunning.
In May of 2009, Gu made the decision to stop participating in all exhibitions. In my opinion, this decision might be seen as a beginning of a new and more important “exhibition.” If the exhibition is a vehicle for conveying ideas to the public, then this decision has, without a doubt, conveyed a most extreme concept. It has infiltrated the psychological sense of space and time for millions of people, and has pushed us to think about the necessity of art and the meaning of its existence. The significance of his decision has reached beyond the power of any tangible exhibition, and it moved us more deeply than any exhibition could.
Some people have compared Gu’s decision to the work of Tehching Hsieh, an artist in New York City. They allege that this nature of performance artwork has already been done by Hsieh, but this is a grave misunderstanding.
All of Hsieh’s performances, including his announcement that he would suspend all art creation after the 2000, was advanced as the existence of artwork. As an artist, he is undoubtedly respectable for advancing these perceptions and the means of his own artwork in a radical way. However, Hsieh’s decision to “suspend creation” includes his expectations for the New York art world, and the expectation that his artwork should be recognized and appreciated. In 2008, Hsieh began to receive recognition from the art world in America, and his artworks were finally exhibited in both the Guggenheim Museum and MoMA. In addition, the catalogue that he worked hard on was published successfully, and he also received a Hoi Fellows Grant from the arts organization United States Artists in 2008. However, Hsieh said, “My artworks have not been paid enough attention in the past thirty years.” He was deeply worried about this lack of appreciation from professionals, especially in the last decade.
Gu Dexin’s “suspension” is not the extension of his usual creative mode; he does not feel the anxiety usually experienced by artists, nor does he wish that his artworks will be highly appreciated by others (especially by the art world); he did not use this interruption of art creation as strategic bait to arouse attention; he has not changed the way he creates, no matter whether people pay attention or not, and nor is he upset by a lack of acceptance from art institutions. Gu “suspended” his work mostly because of his attitude towards the art system, his reflections on his own art, and his critical mode thinking on capitalized society and human nature weakness. This time, Gu did not put the results of his thinking into the scope of art system in order to produce some artwork capable of being exhibited, rather, he followed his innermost feelings and abandoned the exhibition system as a way of contemplating art and the meaning of life. This mode of thinking touches on issues of personal artistic beliefs, and thus, it is a new beginning.
As I see it, this beginning is undoubtedly the most significant event in China’s art world in 2009.

[13楼] guest 2011-12-18 15:10:19

[14楼] guest 2011-12-28 13:55:22

[15楼] guest 2012-01-03 09:19:30
happy new year!!!

[16楼] guest 2012-01-18 09:28:57

[17楼] guest 2012-01-19 17:27:29

[18楼] guest 2012-01-23 11:28:58
xin nian hao
[19楼] guest 2012-01-27 09:15:30 - January 8, 9:05 AM
The Real Thing - Gu Dexin

Gu Dexin brings an immense level of intuition to his work, producing results that are idiosyncratic, often disturbing and bizarre, and completely original. The majority of his works are site-specific projects relevant to the time and place of the exhibitions in which he participates.
For The Real Thing, fascinated with the idea of the flashing lights and bold red surface of the industrial structure, Gu Dexin has chosen to recreate the grand funnel of the boat that served as the last working mobile lighthouse in Liverpool. A team of factory workers from a steel plant in the northern port city of Tianjin worked from archived engineering plans to achieve an exact replication of the original. The only modification the artist has elected to make is to add the element of sound. The conjoining of humorous, childlike sounds with such a potently virile form as the boat funnel, reveals the artist’s understanding of how the juxtaposition of opposites contributes to a consummately powerful whole.
[20楼] guest 2012-02-05 10:10:14
[21楼] guest 2012-02-14 09:10:33

[22楼] guest 2012-02-14 13:50:27

[23楼] guest 2012-02-15 13:53:51
[24楼] guest 2012-02-18 10:02:40

[25楼] guest 2012-02-19 12:02:11
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[26楼] guest 2012-02-22 09:55:41


[27楼] guest 2012-02-26 11:16:36
[28楼] guest 2012-02-27 09:41:18
hey honey

[29楼] guest 2012-02-27 20:51:13

[30楼] guest 2012-03-01 10:49:11
[31楼] guest 2012-03-01 14:02:13
Gu Dexin: The Important Thing Is Not the Meat

Born in Beijing in 1962, Gu Dexin is one of the pioneering presences of the generation that began making contemporary art during the 1980s. His early paintings, watercolors, and embroideries open up fantastic, dystopian worlds of creatures vaguely human, while his conceptual installations involving raw meat and rotting fruit added a new sense of the visceral to an otherwise analytical and symbolic conversation. In 1989, he was among the three Chinese artists to show in “Magiciens de la Terre” at the Pompidou, the first time art from contemporary China had been inserted into a global context. In 2009, frustrated with the art world around him, Gu decided to quit art entirely. Drawn entirely from private collections, and including over eighty works from the Guy and Myriam Ullens Foundation Collection, this exhibition is the first comprehensive attempt to make sense of the multiple strands in Gu’s daring, original, and sophisticated practice.
Gu Dexin: The Important Thing is Not the Meat is made possible with loans from the Guy and Myriam Ullens Foundation, DSL Collection, Guan Yi Collection, Tim and Ellen Van Housen, Yuz Foundation, Xin Dong Cheng, Shanghai Gallery of Art, and Galleria Continua.

Date: Mar 25, 2012 – May 27, 2012
Venue: UCCA Great Hall
[32楼] guest 2012-03-03 13:43:25
Gu Dexin: The Important Thing Is Not the Meat

Mar 25, 2012 – May 27, 2012
Venue: UCCA Great Hall
[33楼] guest 2012-03-06 14:44:03
Gu Dexin: The Important Thing Is Not the Meat

Mar 25, 2012 – May 27, 2012
Venue: UCCA Great Hall
[34楼] guest 2012-03-08 13:34:45

[35楼] guest 2012-03-08 20:22:51

[36楼] guest 2012-03-10 09:01:07
Gu Dexin: The Important Thing Is Not the Meat

Mar 25, 2012 – May 27, 2012
Venue: UCCA Great Hall

[37楼] guest 2012-03-11 09:22:05
DDD kisses

[38楼] guest 2012-03-14 20:21:01
“Meat” is one of Gu Dexin’s celebrated installation and performance work. Performed from 1994 to 2001, the work consists of photographs of Gu’s hand kneading pieces of fresh, red meat until the meat petrifies; the pieces are then placed in petri dishes labeled by the day they were kneaded. The photographs then become the only document of the temporal, erotic violence wrought by the artist.
Posted in Visual art | Tagged art news, art venue, Beijing, Chinese artist | Leave a response
[39楼] guest 2012-03-15 14:31:51
Gu Dexin

Mar 25, 2012 – May 27, 2012
Venue: UCCA Great Hall

[40楼] guest 2012-03-15 18:30:04
remember me
[41楼] guest 2012-03-16 18:07:31
Gu Dexin surprises with his flow of inspiration and the multi-medial diversity. Compared to Xu Zhen Gu is more metaphorical and more interested in capturing erotic impulses than the corporeal.

Harald Szeemann
[42楼] guest 2012-03-17 13:48:27
hi honey


[43楼] guest 2012-03-18 13:46:37
remember me
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[44楼] guest 2012-03-19 09:43:59
remember me

[45楼] guest 2012-03-19 16:43:16

[46楼] guest 2012-03-20 14:23:15



Gu Dexin

Mar 25, 2012 – May 27, 2012
Venue: UCCA Great Hall

[47楼] guest 2012-03-21 20:18:54

[48楼] guest 2012-03-23 09:46:08



[49楼] guest 2012-03-23 15:25:07
“Gu Dexin: The Important Thing is Not the Meat” traces the full arc of Gu’s solo career, from his amateur paintings in the late 1970s through his climactic final piece of 2009, bringing together nearly 300 works. In doing so, it presents Gu’s work as an alternative history of the development of contemporary art in China: his early paintings toggle readily among the Western styles then being digested, just as his later performative installations foreshadowed larger debates over acceptable forms and materials both inside the Chinese art world and in the nascent international interpretive community around it.
Elements and sequences that appear in his earliest work recur throughout his oeuvre—apples and sides of meat first depicted in paintings resurface later as real objects in installations; the fantastical humanoid figure world of his earliest watercolors, pen drawings and embroideries forms the basis not only for later sculptures but for the flash animations that became part of the artist’s daily practice starting in the late 1990s. His ultimate decision to end his career and return to “normal” life in the same Beijing residential compound where he grew up and made nearly all of the work on view has been read by many commentators less as a rejection of art than a protest to society.

The exhibition takes its title from a 2003 article by the artist and critic Qiu Zhijie, the title of which was itself a response to the 1996 article “The Important Thing is Not the Art” by the curator Li Xianting. In this article, Li wrote on behalf of a then-marginalized group of painters and sculptors (including Gu) whose significance he saw in terms as much social as aesthetic. Qiu wrote in defense of his own later generation, the “Post-Sense Sensibility” artists, a group which provoked public ire and official censure with their gory experiments involving animal and even human flesh around the turn of the 21st century. This title, like this exhibition, positions Gu as the missing link between these two generations and their respective concerns.

Tags: Gu Dexin, UCCA
[50楼] guest 2012-03-24 14:42:47
smart Artists’ Talk Series: Debating Gu Dexin-The Important Thing is Not the Meat
Time: April 8 (SUN) 13:00 – 15:30
Venue: UCCA Auditorium
Moderator: Philip Tinari (UCCA Director)
Guests: Feng Boyi, Karen Smith, Qiu Zhijie, Fei Dawei
Language: Chinese with English Translation

[51楼] guest 2012-03-26 13:31:44
CHINA. UCCA presents a major retrospective of work by Gu Dexin
22/03/2012 10:31:16

The Ullens Center for Contemporary Art presents a major retrospective of work by Gu Dexin (b. 1962, Beijing), entitled “Gu Dexin: The Important Thing is Not the Meat,” spanning three decades of this artist’s vast and varied output.

The exhibition, on view from March 25 through May 27, 2012, will trace the full arc of Gu’s solo career, from his amateur paintings in the late 1970s through his climactic final piece of 2009, bringing together more than 100 works. In doing so, it presents Gu’s work as an alternative history of the development of contemporary art in China: his early paintings cycle readily among the Western styles then being digested, just as his later performative installations foreshadowed larger debates over acceptable forms and materials both inside the Chinese art world and in the nascent international interpretive community around it.

Elements and sequences that appear in his earliest work recur throughout his oeuvre—apples and sides of meat first depicted in paintings resurface later as real objects in installations; the fantastical humanoid figure world of his earliest watercolors, pen drawings, and embroideries forms the basis not only for later sculptures but for the flash animations that became part of the artist’s daily practice starting in the late 1990s. His ultimate decision to end his career and return to “normal” life in the same Beijing residential compound where he grew up and made nearly all of the work on view has been read by many commentators less as a rejection of art than a protest to society.

This exhibition, curated by UCCA Director Philip Tinari, is the second on Gu’s work at UCCA, the first being the center’s inaugural 2007 exhibition “’85 New Wave: The Birth of Chinese Contemporary Art.”

Learn more,

[52楼] guest 2012-03-27 20:52:05
smart Artists’ Talk Series: Debating Gu Dexin-The Important Thing is Not the Meat
Time: April 8 (SUN) 13:00 – 15:30
Venue: UCCA Auditorium
Moderator: Philip Tinari (UCCA Director)
Guests: Feng Boyi, Karen Smith, Qiu Zhijie, Fei Dawei
Language: Chinese with English Translation

[53楼] guest 2012-03-28 10:32:19
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[54楼] guest 2012-03-29 17:09:01

[55楼] guest 2012-03-30 10:53:04
There is a lot to see at Bj 798 Art District, full retrospective exhibition by Gu Dexin 顾德新 at UCCA. Do go and enjoy.

[56楼] guest 2012-03-31 15:07:56
smart Artists’ Talk Series: Debating Gu Dexin-The Important Thing is Not the Meat
Time: April 8 (SUN) 13:00 – 15:30
Venue: UCCA Auditorium
Moderator: Philip Tinari (UCCA Director)
Guests: Feng Boyi, Karen Smith, Qiu Zhijie, Fei Dawei
Language: Chinese with English Translation

[57楼] guest 2012-04-01 15:32:22
[58楼] guest 2012-04-01 19:53:52
found you
[59楼] guest 2012-04-05 18:15:30

[60楼] guest 2012-04-07 21:30:25
gu dexin
smart Artists’ Talk Series: Debating Gu Dexin-The Important Thing is Not the Meat
Time: April 8 (SUN) 13:00 – 15:30
Venue: UCCA Auditorium
[61楼] guest 2012-04-08 14:20:26
This event has been CANCLED. Sorry for the inconvience.
[62楼] guest 2012-04-08 17:52:08

[63楼] guest 2012-04-10 02:08:27
gu dexin
smart Artists’ Talk Series: Debating Gu Dexin-The Important Thing is Not the Meat
Time: April 8 (SUN) 13:00 – 15:30
Venue: UCCA Auditorium

This event has been CANCLED. Sorry for the inconvience.
[64楼] guest 2012-04-14 10:00:10
Yearn More of You
[65楼] guest 2012-04-14 17:37:35

[66楼] guest 2012-04-15 10:47:54
Gu Dexin: Iconoclast

[67楼] guest 2012-04-16 14:56:41
hey Meat

[68楼] guest 2012-04-18 17:04:22
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[69楼] guest 2012-04-21 13:57:34
Gu Dexin: The Important Thing is Not the Meat (exhibition opening – 24.03.2012)
[70楼] guest 2012-04-23 09:06:12
miss you...
[71楼] guest 2012-04-24 13:35:10
remember me
[72楼] guest 2012-04-24 13:55:48
Cover of LEAP 14: Theory Fever, April 2012

LEAP 14 out now

“Fear” and “terror” together have always been one of art’s eternal themes. The evolution of representations of war is one long thread in the evolution of art history at large.
–Xiaoyu Weng (Gu Dexin: Iconoclast)

[73楼] guest 2012-04-25 14:20:39
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[74楼] guest 2012-04-27 14:36:44

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[75楼] guest 2012-04-29 12:44:16
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[77楼] guest 2012-05-03 13:07:05
When you love yourself and who you are, you will savor and enjoy both life's pain and pleasures.
[78楼] guest 2012-05-06 14:18:41
We Can Do It!
[79楼] guest 2012-05-11 17:06:52
In The Dream
[80楼] guest 2012-05-21 15:43:37
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[81楼] guest 2012-05-22 09:13:12
Cover of LEAP 14: Theory Fever, April 2012

LEAP 14 out now

“Fear” and “terror” together have always been one of art’s eternal themes. The evolution of representations of war is one long thread in the evolution of art history at large.
–Xiaoyu Weng (Gu Dexin: Iconoclast)

[82楼] guest 2012-05-24 09:04:08
[83楼] guest 2012-05-24 11:07:39
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[85楼] guest 2012-06-04 08:42:19
6 . 4
[86楼] guest 2012-06-05 08:59:40
Painting can do for the illiterate what writing does for those who can read.
[87楼] guest 2012-06-08 21:23:45
[88楼] guest 2012-06-11 07:55:28
TEXT: Xiaoyu Weng, TRANSLATION: Katy Pinke
1990.09.06, installation view, “Next Phase”, London, 1990
“2009-05-02” was the last series of work produced by Gu Dexin before he chose to retire from the art world completely. The title of the work came straight from the designated time frame for the exhibition at Galleria Continua Beijing—Gu frequently implements this policy, naming his works after simple external circumstances in order to defend against the accumulation of leading, intuitive interpretations. In this work, white-washed wooden panels on all four walls were covered with line after line of horrifying sentences in striking red paint: “We have killed people we have killed men we have killed women we have killed old people we have killed children we have eaten people we have eaten hearts we have eaten brains we have hit people we have punched their eyes out we have smashed in their faces…” With no punctuation and nothing to separate one utterance from the next, they repeat cyclically, summoning a wellspring of terror. Although the visual element here is entirely without accompanying imagery, vivid scenes of brutality nonetheless flash through our minds: social injustices, criminal offenses, blood-drenched, murderous warfare and terrorism, and so on. One thing worth noting is that the events that so often generate fear within us are not the concrete, actual events themselves or any moral responses they might provoke, but rather their very images as they flicker across the ocular surface, like so many film slides out of a phantom projector.1 In “2009-05-02,” the connection in our consciousness between the words we see and the images we experience as a result not only embodies the intimate connection between text and image—between referentiality and visibility—but even more so points to the very sensory obstacle that the era in which we live has manufactured for us: image anxiety disorder. In this age, images are transmitted at an unprecedented rate; the traumatic spectacle is an invasive background to everyday life. The images we are inundated with are not objective records of true occurrences, nor are they mere reproductions of objects or their simulacra; rather, they take on a life of their own, actively inserting themselves into our very modes of behavior. Thus, an interpretation of “2009-05-02” must move beyond its textual expression and even beyond its mechanism as a dark social critique of violence and brutality as mapped by a more straightforward narrative. It may be that what “2009-05-02” aims to test, in fact, is the intricate and contradictory relationship between images produced out of acts of art and images produced out of acts of terrorism.
1995.06.08, installation view, “Asiana: Contemporary Art from the Far East,” Venice, 1995
Of course, “fear” and “terror” together have always been one of art’s eternal themes. The evolution of representations of war is one long thread in the evolution of art history at large. In an essay titled “Art at War” in his 1998 book Art Power, Boris Groys points to the complementary relationship between art and war, and the violent tendencies unique to each. Classic pre-modernist artwork commonly depicts and narrates incidents of terrorism, with painted images meant to convey information about these events directly to the senses of the viewer. After the spread of photography and other imaging technologies, a means of recording events in real time had been realized, thereby eliminating the gap between reality and art’s function as a representational medium, along with the artist’s role as a coordinator between the two. Groys goes on to engage in a meaningful comparison between artistic creation and the terrorist act with regard to the way in which both produce images. He holds that since the start of the modernist era, avant-garde art has taken the toppling of traditions, the breaking of taboos, the destruction of routine, and the attack on existing forms as its strategy, fighting to conquer all manner of visual symbolism at any cost in the struggle for legitimacy, visibility, and identity in art. In striving for “visibility” and “identity,” art and politics are no different from one another, in principle. André Breton, in his renowned Surrealist Manifesto, asserted that the terrorist act of firing gunshots into an unassuming, innocent crowd was the truly surrealistic, artistic act. In Groys’ opinion, this can be seen as the most classic example of a quintessential overlap between the exaggeration of art and the exaggeration of violence.2
In Gu Dexin’s works, blood-ridden scenes of terror play the leading role, starting with his use of raw meat and animal innards. In 1995, Gu participated in the Fei Dawei-curated “Asiana,” a satellite show of the 46th Venice Biennale. The show used a magnificent Venice casino as its gallery.3 This was Gu’s first time using meat as his material; he filled three custom-made plexiglas coffins with 100 kilograms of bloody raw beef. The Venice exhibition took place at the height of summer, and the slabs of meat quickly rotted in the heat, emitting a sickly layer of fog that lined the inside of the plexiglas, at times revealing and at times obscuring the transformation of the meat in its chamber—thus further bewildering and arousing the audience’s urge to discern what was happening. Though these coffins were designed on the premise that they would be completely and securely sealed, a mere three days later the rancid odor of the rotting meat had intensified to an intolerable degree and the vapors were becoming gradually more toxic. The exhibition organizers were forced to remove all of the decaying meat, leaving the empty coffins stained with trails of blood and other viscous residue. For another piece in 1998, Gu chose yet another, even more grotesque organic material: raw pig brains. This time, he tiled a red tablecloth with 100 kilograms of pig brains and suspended a second, pig-brain-free red cloth at the table’s front. The work was shown in “Trace of Existence: A Private Showing of China Contemporary Art ’98,” curated by Feng Boyi at Now Studio in Beijing. One possible analysis of the work, from the perspective of its symbolism, would view the red cloth as a political metaphor, and the big brains as an insinuation of the “heads” of state behind the great mechanism that is politicized society,4 but this sort of interpretation inevitably tends towards an overemphasis on representation. In one interview, when asked why he chose pig brains as material, Gu succinctly replied: “The physical nature of the pig’s brain most closely resembles that of the human brain.”5
1998.11.07, installation view, “Corruptionists,” Beijing, 1998
Japanese simulation robotics scientist Masahiro Mori used his research to posit a theory based on Freud’s “The Uncanny”; he called it “The Uncanny Valley.” Mori’s theory holds that when a robot shares certain similarities to human kind, but not too many similarities, it will make people feel a pleasurable sense of affinity. However, at the point where similarity—without arriving at exact likeness—reaches an extreme degree, it will produce in people a sensation of utter terror and revulsion.6
Gu Dexin uses the pig brain, that much more “physically similar to the human brain” to maximize the force of this psychological test. His attempt to re-create “The Uncanny Valley” appears once again in a series of works from 1999. Gu took an array of realistic sex toys and inserted them into or interspersed them among the sinews, blood, fat, and muscle of slabs of skinned poultry and raw meat; turned on, the toys vibrated unceasingly into the meat, creating a scene that came so close to reality and yet simultaneously so far from it sent a visceral shudder through the body. Gu Dexin’s proclivity for red further inflames the experience of this kind of psychological convulsion; entering into his bloody spaces, one cannot help but think of the classic scene in David Lynch’s suspenseful serial drama Twin Peaks when, in the protagonist’s recurring dream, a dwarf dressed in a red suit predicts the future in a slow drawl from within an unnamed, mysterious space draped with deep red curtains. The true meaning of Gu’s works lies not in the freedom with which we can entreat to interpret their symbolism. Rather, it lies in the actual, lived experience of much deeper human psychological and physical pressures: the twisted, the absurd, the craved; voyeurism, violence, ritual sacrifice—anything and everything that probes, pushes, and destabilizes.
Scene from Twin peaks, 1990-1991
No one can deny that Gu Dexin is a master of large-scale spectacle. Most of his works are based upon the architecting of environmental installations of giant proportions requiring materials that often must be measured by the kilogram. But are his works satisfied to stop at that—at the production of a landscape and its resounding shock? It is obvious that Gu’s intention is to build an installation, not to erect an immortalizing monument, and his materials of choice make this point quite clear. Everyday objects that easily could have been handpicked at random are actually the result of careful consideration. From the early plastics and later to raw meat, apples, bananas, strawberries, and so on, Gu has a consistently firm grasp on the relationship between the impermanence so central to these objects and the natural process of their transformations. These are objects that gradually decay and transform with the passage of time into unintelligible, unrecognizable, indefinable substances. And so a scene that at first possesses the features of a monument, then moves with time, and sheds the absolutist allure of eternal existence. In Gu’s mind, the rotting process is not a dichotomous transformation from “good” to “bad,” because the existence of such a dualism is already marked by blatant absurdity.
In his early works, Gu Dexin used an abundance of plastic: for 1989’s “Magiciens de la Terre” he heated and deformed a Chanel perfume bottle before hanging it across strips of warped, molten plastic; in 1990 he melted and scorched an enormous sheet of plastic and hung it up in an electric power station in London; in 2002 at the first Guangzhou Triennial, Gu filled a giant metal frame with feverishly distorted plastics. Through their forms and the materials that constituted them, these works beckon associations with the conceptual artists of 1960s America, represented by Robert Smithson, Donald Judd, and Sol LeWitt. In an essay titled “Entropy and The New Monuments,” Smithson analyzes the way in which his generation of artists understood and applied the concept of “entropy” in their creative work. “Entropy” or “energy loss” was a concept at first exclusive to physics: according to the second law of thermodynamics, the amount of energy lost is always greater than the amount of energy available at any given time, and as such, everything in the universe tends toward entropy. To the artists of that generation it was clear that as human society evolved and energy was continually lost, the flame of the universe would one day burn out. Post-war America was the pinnacle of urban development; innumerable real estate development projects sprung up like ravenous plant-life after an oppressive rain, frenzied large-scale production inspired wanton consumption. It was a sight that, upon first glance, might have been a picture of prosperity. On the contrary, it left many artists feeling gravely perplexed. Judd once remarked, “All of these visible things are actually bland and empty.”7 In response, they used synthetic materials such as plastic and steel to create formally minimalist installation pieces that could reflect this experience of “nothingness” among so many “somethings.”8 In the early 1990s, Gu’s sensitivity towards plastics and industrial waste was similarly inextricable from the budding economic development that marked its context. Although the forms he used and the materials that constituted them would gradually evolve, the notion of “entropy” continued to be interspersed throughout Gu’s work; a luscious “carpet” of plentiful fruit was doomed to an irreversible fate of rot, deterioration, and total deconstruction.
View of “The Important Thing Is Not the Meat,” Beijing, 2012, Photo: Eric Gregory Powell, courtesy of UCCA
Gu Dexin’s investigation of time is crucial to understanding the anti-memorial nature of his works. His exhibition “2007-1-13” turned Galleria Continua’s space in San Gimignano, Italy into an abandoned movie theater. Gu covered the theater floor in fresh bananas, and dragged in ten austere marble columns topped with ornate Roman vases to be stationed on either side of the banana carpet. The red curtains in front of the movie screen, closed shut, emanated intense ritualism. It was as if time had coagulated there, its march forward slowly coming to a halt as it found itself caught in a sort of complementary orbit with the space of the theater itself. The experience of watching a film in a theater is the experience of a time warp; time in limited space undergoes unlimited compression. Through photographic records, the past and the present in “2007-1-12” are able to be lodged tightly into one moment; only on the physical surface of photo print paper can the contrast between the bananas of once-golden freshness and the bananas of brownish yellow rot be rendered together in the now. This kind of temporal experience is devoid of any spatial component; it does not move forward or backward, it does not move at all. As Smithson poses: “If time is a place, then innumerable places are possible. Rather than saying, ‘What time is it?’ we should say, ‘Where is the time?’”9
But let us return at last to the original question, of the contradictory relationship between images of art and images of terror. In his essay, Groys boldly positions art and violence on the same plane for comparison, but he ultimately still defends the position that sees art as an essentially constructive act, not a destructive one. He feels that images produced in the name of terror are born out of conspiring plots that seek to raise these images onto a pedestal of collective memory, endowing them with features of the “sublime” in order to fabricate a memorialized idolatry that will mesmerize audiences into believing in a kind of absolute truth. Whereas art images are meant to pass judgment upon those sights designed to bewitch our eyes and ears, they are here to smash idols and put a stop to idol-worship. The ultimate responsibility of art images lies in their unremitting confrontation with paradox as they contemplate and wrestle with the nature of existence. Gu Dexin’s often absurd and contradictory visual language reached its extreme in “2007-4-14,” where maggots hidden beneath drain covers and flies floating atop blue ponds free themselves from day-to-day reality and release into the space of the imagination, forcing us to re-think all that may have once been known as ugly, beautiful, moral, shameful, majestic, tiny, dirty, or pure.
Gu Dexin is a true iconoclast, to the extent that he has chosen to no longer create the art image itself.
1 Ed. note: The concept of the “image” here is treated as distinct from the concept of the “picture,” as it transcends the notion of physical media like painting, photography, digital photography, film, and so on.
2 Boris Groys, “Art at War,” Art Power, Cambridge: MIT Press, 2008, 121-129.
3 Karen Smith, “Gu Dexin,” Nine Lives: The Birth of Avant-Garde Art in New China, Scalo, New York, 2005, 205.
4 Ibid, 209.
5 Gu Dexin, interview, Shanghai Gallery of Art:
6 Masahiro Mori, “The Uncanny Valley,” Energy vol. 7 no. 4, 1970, 10,000 Lives: Gwangju Biennale
2010, Gwangju Biennale Foundation, 317-318.
7 Robert Smithson, “Entropy and the New Monuments,” Robert Smithson: The Collected Writings, University of California Press, 11, 13.
8 “…one perceives the ‘facts’ of the outer edge, the flat surface, the banal, the empty, the cool, blank after blank; in other words, that infinitesimal condition know as entropy.” Ibid, 13.
9 Ibid, 11.
[89楼] guest 2012-06-11 11:15:18
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[90楼] guest 2012-06-13 14:45:11
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[97楼] guest 2012-06-26 20:45:59
This is it (This is it)

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[99楼] guest 2012-07-02 02:14:18
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