Chicken are not naked – Many ways to live an artist’s life in Beijing
Format30 × 24 cm
Features336 pages, approx. 200 color images, Hardcover with linen
Between Tradition and Subculture–Nine Artists in China
Nine artists in Beijing. A photographer from Berlin. In a country ruled by a virtually perfect totalitarian system, artists have an especially seminal role to play. Most forsake material prosperity and security in pursuit of their artistic passion. Poverty and the fear of political repression often closely circumscribe the ambit of their work. Yet these nine have managed to stake out spaces in which they hatch individual creative projects between subjective and subcultural ideals, Chinese traditions, and their country’s contemporary turbo-capitalist development. The photographer Stefanie Schweiger has lived in Beijing since 2012. After creating numerous reportages for DIE ZEIT, ZEITmagazin, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, VISION and other international media, she launched her own project Chicken are not naked in early 2014. For over a year she has shadowed artists to create an intimate photographic portrait of their lives. The Chinese contemporary arts scene has grown steadily since the 1980s and is now a well-established part of the international art world. The state, which has an interest in its continuing growth, builds major museums and subsidizes cultural institutions. However, these structures often fail to nourish the subcultural art production. So Schweiger’s project is also meant to highlight the fact that it exists—a subculture apart from the country’s "mainstream." It lays out a nuanced panorama of China’s diverse arts scene—much of which is virtually unknown in the West—and people’s views of society in a country in which individuality is still a contentious political issue.
Artists: Bian Yuan, Boer, Dong Dong, Gao Ping, Gao Yanjinzi, Li Binyuan, Liu Donghong, Tong Kunniao, Zhai Yongming
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