Literature and Arts in the late 1970s in China


Light Before Dawn Exhibition Lecture Series

Evening Presentation by Yan Li, Poet and Painter and discussion with Dr. Silvia Fok, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Registration at 6:30pm 
Presentation at 7:00pm 
Close at 8:00pm

The exhibition of 1979, organized by the Stars (Xingxing) group and displayed on the fence outside the Chinese National Art Gallery in Beijing, has been one of the most notable events in the recent history of Chinese art. Yan Li was a key member of the Stars (Xingxing), and was also an active member of the literary group "Today" during that time. In conversation with Dr. Silvia Kok, Yan Li will review two culturally significant periods of Chinese contemporary history - from 1969-1976 and the years right after the Cultural Revolution from 1976-1980. During both periods, Beijing was replete with underground activities including the rise of an avant-garde literary arts movement. Yan will recollect the impetus behind the establishment of the “May Fourth Movement”, Democracy Wall, “Today” magazine and the Stars group.

Yan Li, born in 1954 in Beijing, is a poet and painter who moved to the U.S. in 1985.Since 1998 he divides his time between Shanghai and New York. Like many of his contemporaries, he began poetry writing and oil painting during the Cultural Revolution. Yan, who is extremely well-read in both Chinese and Western philosophy, history and literature, has several publications of poetry including a bilingual edition titled “Poetry Possibility” (2009) published by U.S. Digest and “Things Are Symbols of Themselves” (2005) which is a collection of Yan’s work and his friends from 1974 to1984 published in Iran by Ostoore Publications. As a painter and a poet, Yan Li has held poetry readings and painting exhibitions across China and the United States. In 2011, he travelled to Iran to participate in the second congress of Iranian and international poets in Tehran and also to Macedonia to read at the 50th Struga Poetry Evenings Festival. Yan Li is presently the organizer of the Mid-Autumn Poetry Festival which takes place in Beijing every September.

Dr. Silvia Fok received her B.A., M. Phil., and Ph.D. from the University of Hong Kong in 1998, 2002 and 2008 respectively. Her primary research is Contemporary Chinese Art. She has published two monographs entitled The Stars Artists: Pioneers of Contemporary Chinese Art 1979-2000 (Taipei: Artist Publishing, 2007, in Chinese), and Performance Art in China: Site and the Body (Taipei: Artist Publishing, 2010, in Chinese). She has taught courses of modern and contemporary art history in the Hong Kong Art School and participated in the Hong Kong Art Archive project as a project coordinator from 2002 to 2004. She worked as part-time Lecturer at the Department of Fine Arts, HKU, and Cultural and Religious Studies Department, CUHK, in 2009. She is currently Lecturer in Art at the General Education Centre, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.


Lead sponsor                      Airline sponsor



Supporting Organization

Asia Art Archive

Event Details

Thu 06 Jun 2013
6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
9 Justice Drive, Admiralty, Hong Kong
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Free admission; Online Registration Required
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