UCCA EXHIBITION CENSORED

Artist Statement

I never imagined that my work could be so powerful and threatening to one of the biggest nations in the world. The only response to this is to go back to my studio and keep doing my work, even better.

 

My Dearest Friends,

The cancellation of my Beijing show came not totally as a surprise, but in some way, my worst prediction came true.

Since I was offered a show by the wonderful Phil Tinari, director of the Ullens Center of Contemporary Art (UCCA) in Beijing, we’ve been working hard on the exhibition together. The curator Ms. Shixuan Luan visited us in May. Everything seemed on track and to be moving forward.

There are so many of you who have decided to lend my work from your collections, allowing it to cross the Pacific. I was moved by the strong support from my individual collector friends, as well as from such museums as the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, the San Jose Museum of Art, the Oakland Museum of California, and SFMOMA. There are also quite a few friends who have since purchased airplane tickets, booked hotels, and geared-up for a big opening and banquet in Beijing on December 6th. I’ve contacted some well-known artist friends in Beijing, arranged studio visits, and exciting gatherings.

Two weeks ago, while we were in New York for my opening at the Nancy Hoffman Gallery, we heard that nine paintings were rejected by the Beijing municipal Bureau of Culture. At that time, we thought this was the final decision. We still believed it could be still a strong show. Weeks passed, but UCCA never received the final permit by the head of the Bureau of Culture. 

It triggered many terrible memories for me. I was forced to walk down memory lane to recall the first half of my life in China. When Cultural Revolution started in 1966, it was a war against culture. All non-proletarian values would be wiped out entirely - western and Chinese traditional ideology, literature, art, and music. I remember a huge mountain of books burning for days in front of the Cultural Ministry building.

Needless to say, this is not simply a disappointment. I don’t have to have a show in China, but hoped that it might be a great way to share my work with my many long-term Chinese artist friends, including many artists younger than me. In China, only very few artists turning seventy (I am about to turn 72 next year) are still active, especially women. So I was impassioned about this show in my once hometown of Beijing.

I am a survivor. I’ve survived the Cultural Revelation and countryside re-education. I will definitely survive this new age Bureau of Culture. I never thought that my work had such power to require censorship, which maybe is a badge of honor. Still, I am sad this has happened.

Since this news broke, I have received overwhelming support. I would like to use the opportunity to send my deepest appreciation and gratitude to all of you who have supported me, loved me, and been with me for all these years.

PRESS:

New York Times

ARTFORUM

SF Chronicle

ARTnews

Hyperallergic

I never imagined that my work could be so powerful and threatening to one of the biggest nations in the world. The only response to this is to go back to my studio and keep doing my work, even better.

 

My Dearest Friends,

The cancellation of my Beijing show came not totally as a surprise, but in some way, my worst prediction came true.

Since I was offered a show by the wonderful Phil Tinari, director of the Ullens Center of Contemporary Art (UCCA) in Beijing, we’ve been working hard on the exhibition together. The curator Ms. Shixuan Luan visited us in May. Everything seemed on track and to be moving forward.

There are so many of you who have decided to lend my work from your collections, allowing it to cross the Pacific. I was moved by the strong support from my individual collector friends, as well as from such museums as the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, the San Jose Museum of Art, the Oakland Museum of California, and SFMOMA. There are also quite a few friends who have since purchased airplane tickets, booked hotels, and geared-up for a big opening and banquet in Beijing on December 6th. I’ve contacted some well-known artist friends in Beijing, arranged studio visits, and exciting gatherings.

Two weeks ago, while we were in New York for my opening at the Nancy Hoffman Gallery, we heard that nine paintings were rejected by the Beijing municipal Bureau of Culture. At that time, we thought this was the final decision. We still believed it could be still a strong show. Weeks passed, but UCCA never received the final permit by the head of the Bureau of Culture. 

It triggered many terrible memories for me. I was forced to walk down memory lane to recall the first half of my life in China. When Cultural Revolution started in 1966, it was a war against culture. All non-proletarian values would be wiped out entirely - western and Chinese traditional ideology, literature, art, and music. I remember a huge mountain of books burning for days in front of the Cultural Ministry building.

Needless to say, this is not simply a disappointment. I don’t have to have a show in China, but hoped that it might be a great way to share my work with my many long-term Chinese artist friends, including many artists younger than me. In China, only very few artists turning seventy (I am about to turn 72 next year) are still active, especially women. So I was impassioned about this show in my once hometown of Beijing.

I am a survivor. I’ve survived the Cultural Revelation and countryside re-education. I will definitely survive this new age Bureau of Culture. I never thought that my work had such power to require censorship, which maybe is a badge of honor. Still, I am sad this has happened.

Since this news broke, I have received overwhelming support. I would like to use the opportunity to send my deepest appreciation and gratitude to all of you who have supported me, loved me, and been with me for all these years.

PRESS:

New York Times

ARTFORUM

SF Chronicle

ARTnews

Hyperallergic

I never imagined that my work could be so powerful and threatening to one of the biggest nations in the world. The only response to this is to go back to my studio and keep doing my work, even better.

 

My Dearest Friends,

The cancellation of my Beijing show came not totally as a surprise, but in some way, my worst prediction came true.

Since I was offered a show by the wonderful Phil Tinari, director of the Ullens Center of Contemporary Art (UCCA) in Beijing, we’ve been working hard on the exhibition together. The curator Ms. Shixuan Luan visited us in May. Everything seemed on track and to be moving forward.

There are so many of you who have decided to lend my work from your collections, allowing it to cross the Pacific. I was moved by the strong support from my individual collector friends, as well as from such museums as the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, the San Jose Museum of Art, the Oakland Museum of California, and SFMOMA. There are also quite a few friends who have since purchased airplane tickets, booked hotels, and geared-up for a big opening and banquet in Beijing on December 6th. I’ve contacted some well-known artist friends in Beijing, arranged studio visits, and exciting gatherings.

Two weeks ago, while we were in New York for my opening at the Nancy Hoffman Gallery, we heard that nine paintings were rejected by the Beijing municipal Bureau of Culture. At that time, we thought this was the final decision. We still believed it could be still a strong show. Weeks passed, but UCCA never received the final permit by the head of the Bureau of Culture. 

It triggered many terrible memories for me. I was forced to walk down memory lane to recall the first half of my life in China. When Cultural Revolution started in 1966, it was a war against culture. All non-proletarian values would be wiped out entirely - western and Chinese traditional ideology, literature, art, and music. I remember a huge mountain of books burning for days in front of the Cultural Ministry building.

Needless to say, this is not simply a disappointment. I don’t have to have a show in China, but hoped that it might be a great way to share my work with my many long-term Chinese artist friends, including many artists younger than me. In China, only very few artists turning seventy (I am about to turn 72 next year) are still active, especially women. So I was impassioned about this show in my once hometown of Beijing.

I am a survivor. I’ve survived the Cultural Revelation and countryside re-education. I will definitely survive this new age Bureau of Culture. I never thought that my work had such power to require censorship, which maybe is a badge of honor. Still, I am sad this has happened.

Since this news broke, I have received overwhelming support. I would like to use the opportunity to send my deepest appreciation and gratitude to all of you who have supported me, loved me, and been with me for all these years.

PRESS:

New York Times

ARTFORUM

SF Chronicle

ARTnews

Hyperallergic

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