In 2006 and 2007, Chinese Arts Centre organised and hosted Vital International Chinese Live Art Festivals to introduce the challenging, diverse and deeply engaging work of Chinese artists working in the hybrid art form ‘Live Art’. This exciting new publication documents the two festivals through memories, interviews, essays, reviews and images which together form a comprehensive scrapbook of Chinese live art.
Contributors include artists such as Lee Wen, Becky Ip, Po Shui and Zhou Bin who ponder the issues surrounding the practise and nature of performance art. Their personal writings also look at the specific concerns of Chinese artists working in live art and scrutinise the need for the Vital festivals.
The individual artist responses are complimented by critical essays and reviews which contextualise the art practice within the wider cultural and political landscape. Reviews of the festivals come from live art writers Andrew Mitchelson and Rachel Lois Chapman. Artist and academic Lesley Sanderson and LA-based scholar Ming-Yuen Ma both look at the pertinent question of identity. Yang Zhi Chao’s essay contextualises endurance performance work, Voon Pow Bartlett looks at the role of the audience while Yuen Yan examines the power and responsibility of the artists.
This mix of critical writing and personal artist responses is accompanied by stunning photography of the incredible performances of the festivals. The images capture moments from such performances as live art rebels JJ & Cai’s unique take on the Monkey King legend, Marcus Young’s very slow walk Pacific Avenue and He Chengyao’s deeply moving hair auction performance at Vital 06.
Vital International Live artists of Chinese descent was launched in China by editor Sarah Champion at the First UP-ON International Live Art Festival in Chengdu, Sichuan, China 15 – 17 October 2008, supported by Chinese Arts Centre. This new festival focuses on experimental new performance work and featured Vital artists Lee Wen, Ying Mei Duan, Liushan Liu and Jason Lim. The publication’s UK launch is part of the diverse programme at New Moves National Review of Live Art held in Glasgow in February 2009.
About the editor:
Sarah Champion conceived and curated Vital International Chinese Live Art Festivals and is former CEO of Chinese Arts Centre. She first worked to introduce Chinese live art to a UK audience with Chinese Arts Centre initiated project China Live, a major UK tour of performances and films in 2005. Of Vital, Sarah says “Vital is a celebration of the special, powerful relationship between the artist and the audience without props or technology – just the purity of personal interaction that only Live Art can bring”
Lee Wen is an artist, political activist, festival curator and author whose work seeks to expose and question ideologies. He performed in Vital 07 and was a speaker at the Vital Bodies conference.
Zhou Bin is an artist living and working in Chengdu, China who has been working in live performance or action art since 1994. His processes often involve the using the limits of his body.
Rachel Lois Chapman is a writer and live art critic who documented the Vital 07 performances and Vital Bodies conference.
Ming-Yuen S. Ma is a LA-based media artist, curator and theorist. For Vital, Ma presents two open letters to live artists Ma Liuming and He Chengyao.
Lesley Sanderson is an artist and academic who creates work with her partner as Conroy/Sanderson and regularly contributes to art journals for example Yishu.
For email interviews, images and further information on Chinese Arts Centre, please contact Rosalind Sandhu at Chinese Arts Centre on:
+44 (0) 161 832 7271