UCCA Beijing

'85 New Wave: The Birth of Chinese Contemporary Art

2007.11.5 - 2008.2.17


Location:  Great Hall, Central Gallery, Long Gallery

’85 New Wave is an exhibition that takes a step back from this commercial fray to examine a unique episode of art history when China began reinventing its own culture. The 1980s in China represented a kind of explosive answer to the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and 70s, when China was not only cut off from the rest of the world, but was also forced to disown and renounce its own culture. Suppression of such a powerful culture could only be met with an equal and opposite force. The result of this explosive reaction was the ’85 New Wave Movement. This search for new artistic language and dialogue sent art­ists in pursuit of multiple lines of enquiry. After decades of political movements, the line of modern Chinese artistic development had been seriously eroded, leaving only traces from which to reinvent a new culture. Forced to work almost from scratch, artists instigated a parallel and alternative contemporary art history to the West that brought Chinese art from strict socialist realism to mature experimental and conceptual practice in just a few years. Consequently, this will be the first time that a comprehensive exhibition of this period will be presented to the public since the 1980s.

Works in the exhibition

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Yu Youhan


Acrylic on Canvas
85 × 86 cm

Zhang Peili

Series “X” 2

Oil on Canvas
175 × 197.5 cm

Tactile Art (Wang Luyan + Gu Dexin

Tactile Art

Photograph 15 Pieces
16.5 × 16.5 cm

Mao Xuhui

David and Venus

Collage with Bristol Board, Water Colors
27.5 × 19 cm

Geng Jianyi

The Second Situation

Oil on Canvas
170 × 132 cm

Xiamen Dada

Scene of The Burning Event-2

Document and Video

Wang Guangyi

Part 1 of Concretionary Northern Polar Region

Oil on Canvas
150 × 200 cm

Huang Yongping



Chen Zhen

Chi in Motion

Oil on Canvas
220 × 119 cm

Yang Jiechang

Ink on Canvas

4 Parts
400 × 280 cm Each

Ding Yi

Appearance Of Crosses1989-7

Acrylic on Canvas
100 × 120 cm

Gu Dexin

Plastic Pieces

Mixed Media
320 × 600 × 420 cm

Xu Bing

A Book from the Sky

96 × 1524 cm × 3 Pieces (Scrolls in the Sky)
381 × 975.4 × 3.9 cm (Platform on the Ground)

Shu Qun

Identity Voice-Rigorous Religious Dialogue No.3

Oil on Canvas
200 × 170 cm

Gu Wenda

Mythos of Lost Dynasties - Modern Meaning of Totem And Taboo

Ink on Paper
274.5 × 540 cm

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Installation Views

Installation Views

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