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(1962 – 2017), China

Geng Jianyi Biography

With a body of work spanning nearly twenty years and covering media as different as oil painting, video, photography, conceptual art and installation, Geng’s body of work suggests a constant search for meaning beneath the surface of all kinds of appearances, be they social, visual or cultural. Geng is preoccupied with the workings of the social mechanisms of communication, interaction, memory and identity-formation. Some of his most interesting work has taken the form of performative tasks required of normal people instructed to perform certain actions, such as filling forms or writing reports, and which question the significance of embedded social practices and state regulations. Recent works, such as the photographic series Watermarks, have veered towards an approach focusing on the effects of immediate actions ‘here-and-now’ that seems inspired by Buddhist philosophical practices in their apparent minimal formal treatment paired with a meditative sensibility.

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A graduate of the oil painting department of the China Academy of Fine Arts in Hangzhou (1985), Geng Jianyi was an early member of the pioneering avant-garde group, the Pond Society, and a major protagonist of the experimental trends that marked the 85 New Wave Movement during the second half of the 1980s. Geng Jianyi emerged on the national scene when his The Second Situation (1987)—portraying a blown-up black-and-white face that sneered with cynical laughter—became one of the icons of the seminal China Avant-Garde exhibition in 1989. Geng Jianyi lives and works in Hangzhou, where he has been recently appointed to the New Media Programme at the China Academy of Fine Arts under the direction of Zhang Peili.

His work has appeared in, China Avant-Garde in Beijing (1989) and Berlin (1993), China’s New Art post-1989 in Hong Kong (1993) and the Venice Biennale (1993); Image and Phenomena a video exhibition in Hangzhou (1996); Inside/Out: New Chinese Art at the Asia Society in New York and the SFMoMA in San Francisco (1998); Living in Time in Berlin (2001); and Paris-Pekin in Paris (2002).

Geng Jianyi Featured Artworks

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Reading Material (166-2) 读物 (166-2) by Geng Jianyi contemporary artwork
Geng JianyiReading Material (166-2) 读物 (166-2), 199086 double pages each book
ShanghART Contact Gallery
Door Series by Geng Jianyi contemporary artwork
Geng JianyiDoor Series, 2008Refrigerator doors, Polaroid photos, magnets
ShanghART Contact Gallery
Stubborn Image D-3 by Geng Jianyi contemporary artwork
Geng JianyiStubborn Image D-3, 2016Signal lamp, motor, hand paint
20 x 20 x 29 cm
ShanghART Contact Gallery
The Reason Why Classic Is (154-1) by Geng Jianyi contemporary artwork
Geng JianyiThe Reason Why Classic Is (154-1), 2000Mixed media, Book, Water color on paper, 72 double pages with hard cover
19.4 x 26.7 x 1.7 cm
ShanghART Contact Gallery
Stubborn Image C-4 by Geng Jianyi contemporary artwork
Geng JianyiStubborn Image C-4, 2016Hand paint on lens glass by mark pen
5 x 15 x 32 cm
ShanghART Contact Gallery
Untitled 12 无题 12 by Geng Jianyi contemporary artwork
Geng JianyiUntitled 12 无题 12, 2015Wooden case, torch, slide projectors, film (positives and negatives)
200 x 160 x 45 cm
ShanghART Contact Gallery
Untitled 7 by Geng Jianyi contemporary artwork
Geng JianyiUntitled 7, 2015EL neon rope light, iron frame
300 x 147 x 100 cm
ShanghART Contact Gallery
Untitled 6 by Geng Jianyi contemporary artwork
Geng JianyiUntitled 6, 2015silicagel tube, EL neon rope light
120 x 100 x 100 cm
ShanghART Contact Gallery

Geng Jianyi Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Summer Wind Flirts among Words 夏风惹来一堆字 at ShanghART, Shanghai
Closed
27 July–28 August 2019 Group Exhibition Summer Wind Flirts among Words 夏风惹来一堆字 ShanghARTWestbund, Shanghai
Contemporary art exhibition, Geng Jianyi, Liang Shaoji, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Artist Trio Show at ShanghART, Beijing
Closed
13 July–25 August 2019 Geng Jianyi, Liang Shaoji, Apichatpong Weerasethakul Artist Trio Show ShanghARTBeijing
Contemporary art exhibition, Group exhibition, Side Lanes 辅路 at ShanghART, Shanghai
Closed
18 January–24 February 2019 Group exhibition Side Lanes 辅路 ShanghARTWestbund, Shanghai

Geng Jianyi Represented By

ShanghART contemporary art gallery in Singapore ShanghART Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore

Geng Jianyi In Ocula Magazine

Dr Uli Sigg Ocula Conversation Dr Uli Sigg By Diana d'Arenberg, Hong Kong

I'm very much a fan of the public institution. I think only the public institution can provide the long-term guarantee that it will continue to exist and it will be 'the' public memory.

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Doryun Chong Ocula Conversation Doryun Chong By Anna Dickie, Hong Kong

Doryun Chong is Chief Curator at M+, Hong Kong’s super museum for visual culture. Prior to joining M+, Chong was Associate Curator of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, and prior to that, he was a curator in the visual arts department at Minneapolis’ Walker Art Center from 2003 to 2009. At MoMA, Chong...

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Doryun Chong Ocula Conversation Doryun Chong By Anna Dickie, Hong Kong

Doryun Chong is Chief Curator at M+, Hong Kong’s super museum for visual culture. Prior to joining M+, Chong was Associate Curator of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, and prior to that, he was a curator in the visual arts department at Minneapolis’ Walker Art Center from 2003 to 2009. At MoMA, Chong...

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Geng Jianyi In Related Press

Obituary: Geng Jianyi (1962–2017) Related Press Obituary: Geng Jianyi (1962–2017) 8 December 2017, ArtAsiaPacific

A seminal figure of China's '85 New Wave movement and co-founder of the artists' group Pond Society, Geng Jianyi died of cancer in Hangzhou, China, on December 5. He was 55 years old. Geng worked in a wide variety of media in his more than three-decade career. In the late 1980s, he achieved critical success for his deadpan depictions of laughing...

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M+ Sigg Collection Exhibition Related Press M+ Sigg Collection Exhibition 24 February 2016, WestKowloon

Comprising more than eighty works by fifty artists – including Ai Weiwei, Fang Lijun, Geng Jianyi, Huang Yong Ping, Zhang Peili, and Zhang Xiaogang – this is the first-ever chronological exhibition about the emergence of Chinese contemporary art. It shows both the development of Chinese contemporary art and a glimpse of the collection...

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