Sheng Qi is a globally-recognised contemporary Chinese artist famed for his unique body art and distinctive painting style.
He is best known for his act of personal defiance following the events in Tiananmen, 1989: he cut off the little finger of his left hand. Since then, he has woven the image of this self-mutilation into his work.
He has been featured in Phaidon's 500 Self Portraits, The Chinese Art Book and Body of Art alongside contemporary and old masters such as Ai Weiwei, Andy Warhol and Michelangelo.
Sheng Qi has been collected by prestigious museums such as the Metropolitan in New York and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Browse artworks by Sheng Qi
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. By 1986 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.