Year of the Pig

For aashra, an open-access video streaming platform
Ashkal Alwan: The Lebanese Association for Plastic Arts
14 April - 14 May 2021

With Simon Liu, Yim Sui Fong, Kongkee, Tang Kwok Hin, Hao Jingban & Zoe Jiang & Su Wei, Shu Lea Cheang & Jun-Jieh Wang, Su Hui-Yu, Tao Hui, Lo Lai Lai Natalie, and Fang Lu

Between 1994 and 1995, Chinese artist Xu Bing carried out three performances. The Cultured Animal and A Case Study of Transference took place in a Beijing gallery space, and A Case Study of Transference 2 took place in a pig farm. The performance stages two pigs, one painted with nonsensical English and the other with meaningless Chinese characters, copulating before a live audience. The work was later censored in New York, where it had been included in Art and China After 1989: Theatre of the World, the largest contemporary Chinese art survey to date held at the Guggenheim Museum in 2017. It has variously been described as a literal metaphor for “cultural rape,” an intervention in East meets West binary politics, New Ink Art, and a rather particular approach to non-human actors. The violence enacted on lived experience through the governance by pigs takes on another meaning in the Sinosphere, where lifelines are punctuated by the 38-year long Martial Law in Taiwan beginning in 1949, the Tiananmen Square Massacre of 1989, and now the Be Water Revolution of 2019 in Hong Kong—the last taking place in the year of the pig in the lunar cycle. The following is a selection of work forged in fire, about and in the times of insurgent repression.

Using Format