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Gu Dexin: The Important Thing Is Not The Meat
2012.3.25 - 2012.5.27
Great Hall
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Born in Beijing in 1961, Gu Dexin is one of the pioneering presences of the generation that began making contemporary art during the 1980s. His early paintings, watercolors, and embroideries open up fantastic, dystopian worlds of creatures vaguely human, while his conceptual installations involving raw meat and rotting fruit added a new sense of the visceral to an otherwise analytical and symbolic conversation. In 1989, he was among the three Chinese artists to show in “Magiciens de la Terre” at the Pompidou, the first time art from contemporary China had been inserted into a global context. In 2009, frustrated with the art world around him, Gu decided to quit art entirely. Drawn entirely from private collections, and including over eighty works from the Guy and Myriam Ullens Foundation Collection, this exhibition is the first comprehensive attempt to make sense of the multiple strands in Gu’s daring, original, and sophisticated practice.

Gu Dexin: The Important Thing is Not the Meat is made possible with loans from the Guy and Myriam Ullens Foundation, DSL Collection, Guan Yi Collection, Tim and Ellen Van Housen, Yuz Foundation, Xin Dong Cheng, Shanghai Gallery of Art, and Galleria Continua.

For more information, please read the “Gu Dexin: The Important Thing Is Not The Meat” press release.

Gu Dexin, 2002.09.30
  • Plastic dolls
  • 2002
  • Courtesy of UCCA
Works in the Exhibition
 / 3 1
    • Gu Dexin
    • Plastic Pieces - 287
    • plastic
    • 1983-1985
    • Courtesy of Ullens Center for Contemporary Art
    • Gu Dexin
    • 2002.09.30
    • Plastic dolls
    • 2002
    • Courtesy of Ullens Center for Contemporary Art
    • Gu Dexin
    • 2004.05.09
    • Ceramic ambulances, military vehicles, tanks, police cars, fire trucks
    • 2004
    • Courtesy of Ullens Center for Contemporary Art
    • Gu Dexin
    • 16.06.1997 – 31.10.2001
    • Plastic boxes, dried meat,
    • 1997 - 2001
    • Courtesy of Ullens Center for Contemporary Art
    • Gu Dexin
    • Watercolor A06
    • watercolor on paper
    • 1992
    • Courtesy of Ullens Center for Contemporary Art
    • Gu Dexin
    • B42
    • Oil on canvas
    • 1983
    • Courtesy of Ullens Center for Contemporary Art
    • Gu Dexin
    • Oil painting A04
    • Oil on canvas
    • 1983
    • Courtesy of Ullens Center for Contemporary Art
    • Gu Dexin
    • Oil Painting A09
    • Oil on canvas
    • 1983
    • Courtesy of Ullens Center for Contemporary Art
    • Gu Dexin
    • Oil painting A10
    • Oil on canvas
    • 1983
    • Courtesy of Ullens Center for Contemporary Art
    • Gu Dexin
    • Watercolor A12
    • Watercolor on paper
    • 1990
    • Courtesy of Ullens Center for Contemporary Art
    • Gu Dexin
    • 2005.3.5
    • Flagpole, wall panel, apples
    • 2005
    • Courtesy of Ullens Center for Contemporary Art
    • Gu Dexin
    • 2006.09.02
    • Bulldozer, apples, plaster
    • 2006
    • Courtesy of Ullens Center for Contemporary Art
Installation Views
In the News
  • “Nearly 300 artworks, spanning Gu’s amateur paintings from the later 1970s until his climactic final piece in 2009, trace the full arc of his solo career, which is also an alternative history of contemporary Chinese art’s development.”

    - China Daily
  • “The exhibition is regarded as an attempt to give a comprehensive overview to Gu’s career as it covers more than 00 of his most significant works from his earliest amateur paintings to his last piece. The exhibition is also regarded as a personal history of contemporary art in China.”

    - Global Times