Chine: Quand l’art conceptuel joue à la… Révolution! (Chinese extreme art: From one cultural revolution to another)

Zhu_yu_1No religion forbids cannibalism. Nor can I find any law which prevents us from eating people. I took advantage of the space between morality and the law and based my work on it. Zhu Yu
It is worth trying to understand why China is producing the most outrageous, the darkest art, of anywhere in the world. Waldemar Januszczak (Times art critic)

Suite à notre page sur le tout prochain 40e anniversaire de la Révolution culturelle chinoise, intéressant article de la BBC d’il y a trois ans sur le « shock art » de nombre d’artistes conceptuels chinois contemporains.

Quand on voit la fascination d’artistes conceptuels pour la transgression à tout prix les amener à « jouer » (?) le cannibalisme dont on sait qu’il affecta la révolution dite « culturelle » des années 60, comment ne pas supposer en effet que des décennies de « révolution », ie. d’atrocités et d’horreurs révolutionnaires, (jusqu’ici impunies et même pas… reconnues !) n’aient pas laissé de traces sur la psyché de tout un peuple … ?

Et comment ne pas avoir quelque inquiétude pour l’avenir de la région et même de la planète tout entière quand ce peuple devrait bientôt atteindre la stature de superpuissance que semble déjà lui conférer de fait… son simple nombre ?

Baby-eating art show sparks upset
A controversial UK TV programme featuring a Chinese artist apparently eating a stillborn baby has received a number of complaints from viewers.
BBC NEWS
3 January, 2003

About 15 viewers called in to complain following the transmission on Thursday night, while 50 others had already contacted Channel 4 to register their disgust before it was even aired.

Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe was one of those who had condemned the Beijing Swings documentary, which featured extreme art in China, as « hideous » before it was shown.

An estimated 900,000 tuned in to see the documentary, which went out at 2300 GMT on Thursday. It was beaten in the ratings by the 1997 movie Beverly Hills Cop II, which attracted 3.4 million viewers.

Beijing Swings featured footage of a man drinking wine that had an amputated penis added to it, as part of an investigation into extreme practices in China.

Cannibalism

The documentary also included stills of artist Zhu Yu biting into the body of a stillborn baby.

A Channel 4 spokesman said that while it takes all comments and complaints seriously, it stands by its decision to broadcast the programme.

The artist, Zhu Yu, was quoted as saying: « No religion forbids cannibalism.

« Nor can I find any law which prevents us from eating people. I took advantage of the space between morality and the law and based my work on it. »

Mr Yu, who is a Christian, claims religion plays a major role in his work.

But before seeing the show, Ms Widdecombe said: « This programme sounds hideous. »

The documentary’s presenter, Sunday Times art critic Waldemar Januszczak, defended the documentary on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

‘Deluded’

While he did not defend Mr Yu’s practice, he said: « It is worth trying to understand why China is producing the most outrageous, the darkest art, of anywhere in the world. »

The Chinese embassy in London also reportedly also condemned the programme.

Mr Yu’s performance show, Eating People, was originally shown in 2000. It has been shown at the Third Shanghai Biennale in China.

Mr Yu’s work is part of a wave of extreme art that has swept contemporary Chinese artistic circles.

The ministry of culture cracked down on what it termed « shock art » after the country was announced as the host to hold the 2008 Olympics.

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