Performing the Land. Two Chinese artists at MoMA PS1

Early performances by Zhang Huan in dialogue alongside with documentation of more recent performance works by Li Binyuan.

Li Binyuan. Freedom Farming. 2014, courtesy dell'artista

On view through September 3, Land: Zhang Huan and Li Binyuan juxtaposes videos and photographs of the early performances of Zhang Huan with those of recent interventions by Li Binyuan to examine endurances works by two Chinese artists of different generations, addressing the relationship between the body and the land. Reflecting on geopoetics and geopolitics of belonging, the exhibition results also the first museum presentation of a corpus of works by Li Binyuan in the United States.

Li Binyuan was born in Hunan province in 1985 and his work has been the subject of recent solo exhibitions at the Center for Chinese Contemporary Art, Manchester, UK (2015); Gallery Yang, Beijing (2015, 2013); and the Today Art Museum, Beijing (2014). His works have been included in group exhibitions as the Gangwon International Biennale, South Korea (2018); but also at Kabuso Art Museum, Bergen, Norway (2013); and the Groninger Museum, Netherlands (2013).

Installation view of Land: Zhang Huan and Li Binyuan, on view at MoMA PS1 from through September 3, 2018. Image courtesy MoMA PS1
Land: Zhang Huan and Li Binyuan, on view at MoMA PS1 from through September 3, 2018. Image courtesy MoMA PS1

This double survey (organized by Klaus Biesenbach, Director, MoMA PS1, and Chief Curator at Large, The Museum of Modern Art; with Oliver Shultz, Curatorial Assistant, MoMA PS1) intertwines encounters between the physicality of body and landscapes, following two different perspectives. Here the established practice by Zhang Huan (Chinese, b. 1965) boasts renowned photographs of naked bodies on a mountain to increase its height, or submerged themselves in a pond to raise its water level, artworks presented here alongside video footage, documenting also a seminal performance at MoMA PS1.

While Li Binyuan enhances physical efforts, such as setting his body against rushing water from a burst roadside dam or repeatedly scaling a bamboo cane. In one of his better-known performances, the artist spent two hours leaping through air and falling into a muddy patch of soil that he inherited following his father’s death.
Land is a selection of performance works related to marking the legal and generational transfer of property, acts of endurance, points to the changing value and significance of land in China during recent decades.

Exhibition Title:
Land: Zhang Huan and Li Binyuan
Opening dates:
From 15 April to 3 September
Organized by:
Klaus Biesenbach with Oliver Shultz
22-25 Jackson Avenue at 46th Ave in Long Island City, New York

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