Fuck Off (art exhibition)

Fuck Off (art exhibition)

"Fuck Off" was a notorious art exhibition which ran alongside the Third Shanghai Biennale (2000), which itself was the city's first attempt at a truly international survey of contemporary art. The exhibition’s title reportedly transliterates as "Uncooperative Approach" in Mandarin, but the blunter English language sentiment was deemed preferable.

The exhibition was held in an Eastlink Gallery warehouse by Feng Boyi and the 43-year-old Ai Weiwei, revered as something of a mage by young Chinese artists. [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1248/is_7_89/ai_76332991/pg_4 Richard Vine, "Art in America", July 2001.] ] Ai encapsulated Fuck Off's artistic-curatorial attitude with one set of photos in which he gives the finger in turn to the White House, the Forbidden City and the viewer, and another in which he releases an ancient Han Dynasty Chinese vase that smashes to at his feet.

The exhibition included 46 avant-garde artists’ works:
Ai Weiwei, Cao Fei, Chen Lingyang, Chen Shaoxiong, Chen Yunquan, Ding Yi, Feng Weidong, Gu Dexin, He An, He Yunchang (in a color photograph as a bare-torsoed figure suspended from a crane by his ankles over a rushing river which he "cut" with the same knife he later used to knick himself in the arm), Huang Lei, Huang Yan, Jin Lei, Li Wen, Li Zhiwang, Liang Yue, Liang Yue, Lin Yilin, Lu Chunsheng, Lu Qing, Meng Huang, Peng Yu, Peng Donghui, Qin Ga, Rong Rong, Song Dong, Sun Yuan (creator of "Solitary Animal", a glass case containing an animal skeleton and--purportedly--enough poison gas to wipe out the show's entire audience), Wang Bing, Wang Yin, Wang Chuyu (whose performance consisted of a four-day fast), Wang Xingwei, Wu Ershan, Xiao Yu, Xu Tan, Xu Zhen, Yang Yong, Yang Fudong, Yang Maoyuan, Zhang Zhenzhong, Yang Zhichao, Zhang Dali, Zhang Shengquan, Zheng Guogu, Zhu Ming (who floated down the Huangpu River in a plastic bubble wearing a diaper) and Zhu Yu.Chen Hao, Zheng Jishun and Song Tao, exhibited a video documenting their stroll through the city with blood leaking from plastic tubes that had been surgically inserted in the veins of their arms.

A catalog of this exhibition has been published. It is a small black book with the simple title "FUCK OFF" on the cover.

One of the most famous examples from this exhibition was the performance of "Eating People" by Zhu Yu. It consisted of a series of photographs of him cooking and eating what is alleged to be a human fetus. One picture, circulated on the internet via e-mail in 2001, provoked investigations by both the FBI and Scotland Yard. The piece's cannibalistic theme caused a stir in Britain when Yu's work was featured on a Channel 4 documentary exploring Chinese modern art in 2003. In response to the public reaction, Mr. Yu stated, "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". Yu has claimed that he used an actual fetus which was stolen from a medical school.

Many influential artists of the current Chinese art scene took part, many of whom have since been included in international exhibitions, catalogues and television documentaries.

The exhibition was closed by the Shanghai police before its closing date. [http://www.aapmag.com/53features1.html ArtAsiaPacific accessed May 23, 2007.]


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