Human, inhuman and all too human

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This lecture and conversation explore an often-overlooked trajectory of anti-humanistic innuendo in Chinese contemporary art, which saw its first inkling in the works of The New Measurement Group at a historic juncture in which the claim for individual freedom and self-expression in the aftermath of Cultural Revolution assumed an indisputable moral imperative in artistic practice and formal pursuits.


The lecture begins with an overview of the radical New Measurement Group which emerged in the late 1980s and championed a complete erasure of affection and subjectiveness by way of mathematical exactitude in art making.


Zhang Ga then discusses selected works by artists Zhang Peili and Wang Yuyang, representative of two generations of media artists, followed by a conversation among the three to illuminate how, through experiments with technical media and information technologies, their creative endeavors have complicated and extended the “inhuman” disposition germinated in the formative years of the Chinese modernist movement. Their highly idiosyncratic works have brought to light a timely dialogue with the current intellectual discourse on the Anthropocene and posthumanism, evoking a shifting view of the Enlightenment legacy retooled to embrace subjects other than humans as a new paradigm in artistic sensibility and cultural production.

Panel Discussion with curator Zhang Ga and artist Zhang Peili