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Xiao Lu, Open Fire

Ethan Cohen Fine Arts
18 Jay Street, between Hudson and Greenwich, 212-625-1250
Tribeca / Downtown
October 18 - November 11, 2006
Reception: Wednesday, October 18, 6 - 8 PM
Web Site

A graduate from National Academy of Fine Arts, Xiao Lu (b. 1962) rocketed to the forefront of the Contemporary art scene with her piece Dialogue, exhibited in the significant exhibition China/Avant-Garde in Beijing in February 5, 1989. During the opening of the exhibition, Xiao Lu fired two shots into her installation, consisting of two phone booths in use by one male and one female student. Xiao Lu’s defiant act caught the attention of the media and the Chinese Government. Chinese law prohibits firing or carrying a firearm in public. The act is considered “the most influential combination of installation and performance in Chinese contemporary art history, and one of the most important emblematic works”[1]. The two gunshots were a response to the opposing cultural currents of traditional Chinese values and the burgeoning “sexual revolution.” Rejected and frustrated by her secret lovers, she fired into the phone booths, boldly terminating their stunted dialogues. She targeted her reflection in a mirror in between the booths committing what curator Gao Minglu coined “symbolic suicide”.

Her second series, 15 Shots: 1989-2003 is a direct response to her now defunct 15 year romance with artist, Tang Song. A collaborator in “Dialogue” and later misattributed as the mastermind and creator of “Dialogue,” Tang Song tightly controlled Xiao Lu’s public image. It is now publicly understood that Xiao Lu is the creator of Dialogue and Tang Song was a collaborator. In a bold reclamation of her voice, Xiao Lu opened fire again, one bullet for each year of her relationship. With her upcoming memoir, Xiao Lu addresses her frustrations with a constantly changing society and deals with issues of being a female artist in China today.

In this solo exhibition, Xiao Lu will show her second series of photographic based artworks entitled 15 Shots, 1989-2003. Following her practice of blending performance and installation, Xiao Lu will fire at the fifteen photographs on display. These repeated photographs have a gradient moving from white to black and show Xiao Lu standing before a brick wall posed in a deadly confrontation with an unseen gunman.

[1] Gao Minglu, “The Sound of Gunshots, Half a Life’s Dialogue: On Xiao Lu’s “Dialogue”
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