Light before Dawn: Unofficial Chinese Art 1974-1985


Light before Dawn: Unofficial Chinese Art 1974-1985 presents a revealing look at the creative spectrum of China’s most influential contemporary artists from three different artist groups of the period: Wuming (No Name), Xingxing (Star), and Caocao (Grass Society). More than one hundred artworks, including a significant number of paintings and sculptures, will be on view, together with ephemera and personal items.

Wuming, Xingxing and Caocao were formed by like-minded artists in Beijing and Shanghai during the 1970s. Spanning two generations, the artists never ceased to create artworks, sometimes working quietly and even secretly, until the Communist Party’s decision to relax restrictions on artistic practices in 1985. Between the pivotal years of 1974 and 1985, the young members of Wuming, Xingxing and Caocao sought to resist the proliferation of official art by innovating through new interpretations of nature, abstraction and ink painting. Crossing the boundaries of subject matter and style, they often questioned, re-evaluated and redefined the forms, the nature of beauty and the art of China. Works in the exhibition trace the beginning of modernism in the post-Mao era. The exhibition aims to shed light on the little-known artwork of this era, which helped to set the stage for the emergence of a contemporary art movement in China and also on the global scene.

Please find below the docent-led tours schedule that will begin on May 17.

  English Tour Cantonese Tour
Thursdays* 7:00 pm  
Fridays 2:30 pm 3:30 pm
Saturdays 2:30 pm 3:30 pm
Sundays 2:30 pm 3:30 pm

*Last Thursday of each month 

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Logistics Service Partner Supporting Organization
Asia Art Archive


In the news:

China before Avant-Garde - Sotheby's Chinese Elements' blog, June 18, 2013

那一抹红嘴唇 -, June 6, 2013

Light Before Dawn: Unofficial Chinese Art 1974-1985 - HK Magazine, June 4, 2013 

Expressions of rebellion - The Economist Prospero blog, June 3, 2013

Light Before Dawn: Unofficial Chinese Art 1974-1985, Hong Kong - The Flaneur, May 23, 2013

Hong Kong art explosion: What to see this month - CNN Travel, May 17, 2013

亚洲协会香港中心呈献《黎明曙光:1974至1985年中国的前卫艺术》- 好戏网, May 15, 2013

Art with political twist goes on show - South China Morning Post, May 14, 2013

在香港舉辦展覽禁書《今天》首度曝光 逾百藝品填補文革歷史 - 星島日報, May 14, 2013

艾未未創最後吸煙 - Metro, May 14, 2013

中國前衛藝術展明日舉行 - 大公網, May 14, 2013

巨鴨未走巨象再殺到 「法國五月」又搞大展品 - 頭條日報, May 14, 2013

「黎明曙光:1974至1985年中國的前衛藝術」展覽 - Timeable, May 14, 2013

「Light before Dawn: Unofficial Chinese Art 1974-1985 」Exhibition -, May 14, 2013

Unnofficial Chinese Art: 1974 – 1985 at Asia Society Hong Kong - Asia Week Guide, May 10, 2013

Press Release: 

Download the press release in English (PDF)

Download the press release in Chinese (PDF)

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