BEIJING XINGWEI: CONTEMPORARY TIME-BASED ART

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Meiling Cheng, Chicago, 2013.

Softcover, 510 pp., 100 color illustrations, 36 halftones, 7 1/2 x 9 inches.

From cannibalism to light-calligraphy, from self-harming to animal sacrifice, from meat entwined with sex toys to a commodity-embedded ice wall, the idiosyncratic output of Chinese time-based art over the past twenty-five years has invigorated contemporary global art movements and conversation. In Beijing Xingwei, Meiling Cheng engages with such artworks created to mark China’s rapid social, economical, cultural, intellectual, and environmental transformations in its post-Deng era.

Beijing Xingwei—itself a critical artwork with text and images unfolding through the author’s experiences with the mutable medium—contemplates the conundrum of creating site-specific ephemeral and performance-based artworks for global consumption. Here, Cheng shows us how art can reflect, construct, confound, and enrich us. And at a moment when time is explicitly linked with speed and profit, Beijing Xingwei provides multiple alternative possibilities for how people with imagination can spend, recycle, and invent their own time

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