Dr Yu-Chieh Li1
1University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
Performance artists in Asia since the 1980s increasingly draw from folk cultures and Shamanism to create dialogues between their bodies and the environment. Although identified as key figures of local avant-garde movements, the body works of artists and its performance aesthetics in the Chinese speaking world such as Wang Molin, Hou Junming, and He Yunchang have not been adequately explored. These artists developed their distinct performance aesthetics deviate from the Happenings or socially engaged art in the performance art canons. Elements in their works such as Shaman rituals, self-harm, and spiritual communication with the After-world bear local religious origins, which also challenges the boundary between art, politics, and ethics. In this paper, I attempt to re-read liveness, audience participation, and social engagement of their performances as an intersection of contemporary performance and local ideas of Wu/Shamanism, and hopefully this will create a dialogue with performance art in Anglophone writings.
Yu-Chieh Li is the Judith Neilson Postdoctoral Fellow in Contemporary Art at UNSW Art & Design. She is working on a book on post-socialism, collective practice, and audience participation in Post-Mao Chinese art. Li worked as an Andrew W. Mellon C-MAP Fellow at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and as an adjunct researcher at Tate Research Centre: Asia. Her current research concerns performativity, artistic networks, and diaspora of Sinosphere from the 1970s to the 1990s.