Light before Dawn: Unofficial Chinese Art 1974-1985

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Installation view of Light before Dawn: Unofficial Chinese Art 1974-1985. Photo: Scott Brooks.
Installation view of Light before Dawn: Unofficial Chinese Art 1974-1985. Photo: Scott Brooks.

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.

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Gallery Guided Tours
Installation view of Light before Dawn: Unofficial Chinese Art 1974-1985. Photo: Scott Brooks.
Installation view of Light before Dawn: Unofficial Chinese Art 1974-1985. Photo: Scott Brooks.

Starting from May 17, 2013, Gallery Guided Tours will be available at the following times and days during the week and tours start at the Gallery Reception.

  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 

In the News

 

Installation view of Light before Dawn: Unofficial Chinese Art 1974-1985. Photo: Scott Brooks.
Installation view of Light before Dawn: Unofficial Chinese Art 1974-1985. Photo: Scott Brooks.

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

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

「黎明曙光:1974至1985年中國的前衛藝術」展覽, Timable, 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

中國前衛藝術展明日舉行 ,《大公報》, May 14, 2013

艾未未創最後吸煙, Metro, 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

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

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

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

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

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

那一抹红嘴唇, Yicai.com, June 6, 2013

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

Press Release: 

Download the press release in English (PDF)

Download the press release in Chinese (PDF)

Programs
Light Before Dawn installation view.
Installation view of Light before Dawn: Unofficial Chinese Art 1974-1985. Photo: Scott Brooks.

In conjunction with the exhibition Light before Dawn: Unofficial Chinese Art 1974-1985, Asia Society Hong Kong Center hosts a variety of lectures and film screenings.

Lectures:
An Evening with the Minds Behind 'Light Before Dawn'
Light Before Dawn: Curatorial Introduction & A Conversation with Artist Huang Rui

The Enduring Passion for Ink
Underground Art During Mao's Cultural Revolution


Film screenings:
Asia Society Chinese Arts Documentary Series

Installation views
Installation view of Light Before Dawn

 

Installation view of Light Before Dawn

 

Installation view of Light Before Dawn

 

Installation view of Light Before Dawn

 

Installation view of Light Before Dawn

 

Installation view of Light Before Dawn

 

Installation view of Light Before Dawn

 

Catalogue
Light Before Dawn Catalogue Cover

This catalogue is published on the occasion of Asia Society Hong Kong Center's exhibition, Light before Dawn, Unofficial Chinese Art 1974-1985. On view from May 15, 2013 to September 1, 2013, this exhibition 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). The book includes a catalogue of all exhibited works, historical context, an essay from the curators, and artist biographies and descriptions of their works. Color plates and descriptions of works from the following 22 artists are included: Du Xia, Li Shan, Ma Kelu, Shi Xixi, Shi Zhenyu, Tian Shuying, Wang Aihe, Wei Hai, Zhang Wei, Zheng Zigang, Zheng Ziyan, Ai Wei Wei, Huang Rui, Li Shuang, Ma Desheng, Qu Leilei, Wang Keping, Yan Li, Chen Jialing, Chen Juyuan, Jiang Depu, Qiu Deshu. 

為配合於2013年5月15日至2013年9月1日舉辦的展覽“黎明曙光:1974至1985年的中國前衛藝術”,亞洲協會香港中心將出版“黎明曙光:1974至1985年的中國前衛 藝術“同名展覽圖錄。本次展覽展出當代中國藝術最具影響力的三個群體:無名畫會,星星畫會和草草社的藝術家作品。本書收集了是次展覽中的所有展出 作品,並輔以策展人專題文章一篇,作品彩色圖片,作品訊息簡介及參展藝術家生平概述。是次參展的22位藝術家包括:杜霞,艾未未,李珊,李爽,黃銳,馬可魯,馬德升,史習習,石振宇,曲磊磊,田淑英,王克平,王愛和,嚴力,韋海,張偉,陳家泠,陳巨源,鄭子鋼,鄭子燕,姜德溥和仇德樹。

 

Title: Light Before Dawn, Unofficial Chinese Art 1974-1985 一九七四至一九八五年中國的前衛藝術
ISBN: 978-988-12272-2-5
Number of pages: 182
Price: HK$225 (Non-Member), HK$200 (Member)
Publisher: Asia Society Hong Kong Center
Design: Andrew Wong Ming Chung

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