Existence in translation
Cang Xin is a Beijing-based performance and conceptual artist active since the mid-90s, when he was one of the "East Village" community of experimental artists who became notorious for the sometimes extreme physicality of their performance work. A participating in the group performance To Add One Meter to an Unknown Mountain, which has since become one of the defining images of Chinese contemporary art (and is reproduced here), Cang Xin began to find his own artistic identity in the 1994 work Trampling Faces. Like much of his later work, it explored issues of "self" and "other" in a way that was both ceremonial and spontaneous, always depending on the participation of others for completion. In the Communicationseries, ongoing since 1996, the artist has used his tongue to experience elements of the material world from small everyday items to monumental cultural symbols. And in Identity Exchange,he does just that, assuming the visual identity of other people by means of borrowing their clothing; thus artist becomes Peking Opera performer, policeman, mental patient, chef, hostess and vice-versa.
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