Gu Dexin

b. 1962, Beijing
Installation, photography and computer design artist
A self-taught artist and founding member of the New Measurement Group, Gu Dexin’s own signature style, physically and sexually charged, is the opposite of the radically depersonalized graphics created in his collective activities. His early installations, exhibited in the exhibitions China Avant-Garde (Beijing, 1989) and ‘Les Magiciens de la Terre’ (Paris, 1989), were reminiscent of disembowelled human organs and excrement created by burning and twisting discarded plastic materials. In a 1995 installation in a Venetian palace, a sumptuous hall was transformed into a mortuary with red plastic beads covering the entire floor and bloody chunks of beef decaying in transparent coffins.
The choice of perishable materials, such as meat, flowers and fruits, reflects Gu Dexin’s deep-rooted pessimism towards human beliefs which he deems self-deceptive. Gu’s works bear no title or simply adopt the time of the exhibition as their designation in order to emphasize the ephemeral nature of the work. In the exhibition ‘Another Long March’ held in Breda, Holland (1997), he displayed apples, bananas and strawberries—chosen for their direct sexual implications—which were left to decay or to be consumed by visitors and birds in an open courtyard for two months. In the same exhibition he also displayed a glass box containing a meatball, dried and darkened after hours of manipulation—a gesture subsequently memorialized in a large size, close-up photograph.
In recent years, Gu Dexin has begun creating computer-generated figures with many breasts or genitals engaging in orgiastic acts. He has also begun producing short animated stories where human violence is mocked with an eerie humour.
Doran, Valerie C. (ed.) (1993). China’s New Art, Post-1989, with a Retrospective from 1979 to 1989 (exhibition catalogue). Hong Kong: Hanart T Z Gallery. (Reprinted in 2001 by Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong, 152–4.)
Driessen, Chris and van Mierlo, Heidi (eds) (1997). Another Long March: Chinese Conceptual and Installation Art in the Nineties (exhibition catalogue). Breda: Fundament Foundation.
Noth, Jochen, Pöhlmann, Wolfger and Reschke, Kai (eds) (1994). China Avant-Garde: Counter-Currents in Art and Culture. Berlin and Hong Kong: Haus der Kulturen der Welt and Oxford University Press, 127.
TANG DI

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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