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Should naked human body be used as an art symbol?
(Beijing Review)
Updated: 2005-07-20 11:26

All in the Name of Performance Art

Shao Daosheng (Researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences): In my view, it is unthinkable that Li Gongming called nude performance a philosophy of the body, believing it is a kind of art and science.

In addition, if this kind of nude art performance gains popularity in China, without the boundaries of social restriction and criticism, the so-called art featuring nudity will find a huge market with undoubted huge money to be made from it.

I admit that Li knows a lot about sociological theories, but he still fails to justify why China should have this kind of performance art. It seems to me the only reason that Li has put forth is that the art form comes from the Western world. Second, must the new radical way of thinking be right? Third, even the degree of a model’s nudity in academies of fine arts is conditioned and strictly restricted. If a group of young people moved to a golf course completely naked to perform, I believe even Western society would find it unacceptable.

Li summarized the characteristics of the modern art students, as “desirous, emotional, impulsive, outgoing and nomadic.” I totally disagree. I think university students must first be rational while not controlled by their instinctive desire. They must not be led by their adventurous impulse or a sense of wild abandonment. Can a simple performance like project @41 really save the 41 naked young men and young women from self-indulgence?

In addition, I strongly oppose Li’s cry for a sense of Western game spirit. It is not enough to only encourage this spirit as he suggests. I’ve always believed that whatever society it is, all games should abide by rules. Each society has its own culture at the end of the day. I am always concerned about China’s university students. If the body featuring nudity becomes an aesthetic ideal for contemporary university students, then becomes a way of life, I can only say that they are really degraded and hopeless.

I believe the ideas and thoughts advocated by Li Gongming leads people in a false direction. At the same time, I find statements delivered in the name of science are most deceptive.

By the way, I keep wondering: Why should the project @41 performance take place on a golf course in the southern suburbs of Chengdu? Was it motivated by large sums of money? Had someone made a quick profit from this project?

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