Don’t Kill Me I’m in Love!
- A Tribute to Huang Xiaopeng
Time 2021.9.25-11.7, 10:00-18:00 Tue. to Sun.
Guangdong Times Museum
Times Rose Garden III, Huangbianbei Road,
Baiyun Avenue. Exit C, Huangbian Station, Guangzhou Metro Line 2.
Admission Pay as you wish.
Curated by Anthony Yung
Huang Xiaopeng with Cui Qianshan, Du Zhongjian, Fang Di, Feng Hanting, Fong Fo, Hu Xiangqian, Huang Cheng, Huang Zhoutuo, Li Lulu, Lin Aojie, BUBU, Liu Yin, Lu Shan, Mak Yongxi, Mo Xiliang, Wu Sibo, Sue Hui, Yang Meiyan, Ye Su (Zhang Fan), Zhang Yin, Zhong Jialing
Organized by Guangdong Times Museum
Supported by Huang Xiaopeng Art & Education Society
Huang Xiaopeng has been one of the most important Guangdong artists of the past two decades. He enrolled at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts in 1979, a testament to his academic excellence. Meanwhile, he was reportedly considered the academy’s top “bad boy”, because he smoked, drank, had long hair, and listened to rock music. As early as he was a student, he has managed to go beyond the old boundaries of Soviet academic style. His paintings were not appreciated by his teachers, but were admired by his peers. After graduation, his styles and his artistic ideas did not stop to progress. He belonged to the New Wave generation of Chinese art, and was involved in the Southern Artists Salon, a major art group in Guangzhou, from 1986 to 1987.
Xiaopeng was accepted into the Slade School of Fine Art in London in 1990 to pursue his master’s degree. The Slade’s emphasis on experimentalism formed a sharp contrast with Chinese fine arts academies. During his twelve years in the United Kingdom, Xiaopeng’s works had undergone a far-reaching expansion: Deciding early on to abandon oil painting, something with which he was familiar and in which he excelled, he started using a wide range of mixed materials to explore the possibilities of using everyday objects for symbolic expression.
In 2003, Xiaopeng returned to Guangzhou and began to teach at his alma mater, the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts. From 2004 through 2012, he was in charge of a course of contemporary art and became the leading teacher of “The Fifth Studio”. Filled with enthusiasm and idealism, he was a pioneer in teaching contemporary art at fine arts academies in China, profoundly influencing several generations of young artists in Guangzhou. After leaving the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts in 2012, he founded, together with Xu Tan, “HuangBian Station”, a platform to foster discussion and exchange among artists. In 2012, he also started teaching at the College of Fine Arts of South China Normal University.
In late 2018, Xiaopeng started planning to move to Berlin. In a diary entry for 18 April, 2019, he noted his aspirations for a future in Berlin and jotted down these passionate words:
DON’T KILL ME I’M IN LOVE!
However, in the least expected way, on 6 October, 2020, Xiaopeng died of a heart attack in Berlin at the age of 60.
It was not until 2005, when he was 45, that Xiaopeng began working with video. Instead of shooting his own footage, he was more interested in collecting, selecting, collaging, transforming and processing found materials in different media such as video, image, sound and text. These materials include news articles, historical sources, online resources, films and popular music. Often consisting of simple techniques and tools, his video works expressed sophisticated views. These works are the records of the artist’s intellectual exploration through sensory materials.
Xiaopeng’s later works can roughly be divided into two directions. The first direction involves his observations of and critical thinking about Chinese realities. After his return to China in 2003, he experienced a different kind of “culture shock.” China was full of bizarre things in his eyes. Only those who are both in the know and capable of taking a step back can fully “appreciate” the incongruous and the kitsch in today’s China and grasp their internal logic. This is why “mistranslation” was Xiaopeng’s favourite artistic means. In his “mistranslation,” translation did not aim to convey original meaning. It was a formal borrowing, an automatic association, a romantic estrangement, or to borrow Roman Jakobson’s description of literature, an “organised violence committed on ordinary speech.” It is probable that only those who have lived in societies with two or more languages, and have truly experienced the differences and conflicts between two or more cultures, are able to understand the nuances that lie within mistranslations and realise, on the most abstract level, that mistakes are also part of the truth.
The second direction consists of Xiaopeng’s more personal works. However, while also derived from reality, these works gradually move away from reality and take on obscure and poetic forms. These refer to his essay films, represented by K.O.H.D(2014-2016). In these works, he still used found materials, which he processed in a more stylised manner, making the original information and meaning of the materials more ambiguous and less relevant. In the end, what remained was a great number of sensory residues. These works are the artist’s inner wanderings.
In Xiaopeng’s last works, there is a convergence of these two trends. His critique of reality was internalised into a fundamental intellectual exploration, with observations intertwining with memories and going beyond expression. In reality, he never really settled down. However, he was probably already very close to his destination in his artistic mind. It was at this premature moment, before his art and thoughts are fully appreciated and recorded, that he left this world.
The current exhibition is the first ever systematic presentation of the key works by Xiaopeng from different phases. Together with the research work and his archives, it attempts to sketch an outline of Xiaopeng’s artistic career. The exhibition is also a result of the joint effort by his students. Some students are making new works to interpret and respond to Xiaopeng’s practice, his situational awareness, and the values that he upheld. Some others contribute to the various aspects of realising the exhibition, from design to production to writing.
After all, as his students, colleagues, and supporters, only by continuously working, creating, and doing interesting things can we best pay tribute to Xiaopeng.
Huang Xiaopeng (1960-2020) was an artist from Guangdong, China. Huang Xiaopeng’s works were featured in exhibitions worldwide, which include “Fear, No Fear” (Times Art Center, Berlin, Germany, 2021), “Chinafrika. under construction” (Galerie fur Zeitgenossische Kunst Leipzig, Germany, 2017), “The Man Who Never Threw Anything Away” (Times Museum, Guangzhou, China, 2017), “Pulse of the Pearl River Delta” (BFI, London, UK, 2016), “A Hundred Years of Shame – Songs of Resistance and Scenarios for Chinese Nations” (Para Site, Hong Kong, 2015), “The Poplar Tree and Mirror” (ISCP, New York, U.S., 2014), “Giorgio Andreotta Calo, Jalal Toufic, Huang Xiaopeng” (Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK, 2011), “Farewell to Postcolonialism: The Third Guangzhou Triennial” (Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China, 2008). “The Thirteen: Chinese Video Now” (P.S.1 MOMA, New York, U.S., 2006), to name a few.
Anthony Yung is senior researcher at Asia Art Archive, specializing in the history of contemporary art in the Chinese regions. Yung is also a writer and a curator. He is the awardee of “The Fourth Yishu Awards for Critical Writing on Contemporary Chinese Art” (2014) and co-founder of Observation Society, an independent art space in Guangzhou.
X Game Parlour
interactive installation, dimension variable
黄小鹏 与 崔千山、杜忠健、方迪、冯翰婷、冯火、胡向前、黄成、黄周妥、李璐璐、林奥劼、BUBU（刘嘉雯）、卢珊、麦永曦、莫希亮、伍思波、许淑贤、杨美艳、耶苏（张帆）、章寅、钟嘉玲
DON’T KILL ME I’M IN LOVE !
黄小鹏（1960-2020）是一位来自中国广东的艺术家。黄小鹏的作品曾在世界范围内展出，曾参与展览包括：“畏无所畏”（时代艺术中心，柏林，2021年）、“中非：建设中”（莱比锡当代美术馆，莱比锡，2017年）、“时代异托邦三部曲之III ——从不扔东西的人”（时代美术馆，广州，2017年）、“影像珠三角”（英国电影学会BFI，伦敦，2016年)、“土尾世界——抵抗之转喻和中华国家想象”（Para Site，香港，2015年)、“杨树和镜子”（ISCP，纽约，2014年)、“乔治·安德里欧塔，卡洛·贾拉·图菲克，黄小鹏”（白教堂美术馆，伦敦，2014年）、“与后殖民说再见——第三届广州三年展”（广东美术馆，广州，2008年)、“13个：今日中国影像”（MOMA P.S.1，纽约，2006年）等等。
X Game Parlour
interactive installation, dimension variable