Globally recognised artist Sheng Qi has been collected by prestigious museums such as the Metropolitan in New York, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Louisiana Museum in Denmark, among others.
He is probably best known for his act of personal defiance following the events in Tiananmen Square in June 1989: he cut off the little finger of his left hand. Since then, he has incorporated the image and concept of this self-mutilation into his work, which includes photography, painting, sculpture, and performance art.
His recent work continues in the vein of subtle but firm subversion and quiet political protest. No informed conversation about the development of Chinese performance art can bypass Sheng Qi, whose work remains unusual, brave and adventurous. By1986 he had already thrown himself into a pioneering practice, working in symbolic locations including Peking University (1986), the Yuanmingyuan (1987) and on the Great Wall (1988). Those seminal events were important contributions to a young field, and looking back at their documentation, readers will feel Sheng Qi’s passion for art and for the intense cultural transgression his works represented in their time.
More recently, he has begun exploring issues related to our financial, economical and political context. Through his careful yet witty eye he constructs a painting language that explores the aesthetics of violence and criticism, and their commonalities.