Yang Zhichao 杨志超

Born 1963, China

Yang Zhichao is originally from Lanzhou in the northern Chinese Gansu Province situated between the Tibetan and Huangtu plateaus, and borders Mongolia. He graduated from the Art Department of Northwest Normal University in 1987. He now lives and works in Beijing. Yang received the Chinese Contemporary Art Award in 2002. Since 1998, his works have been widely exhibited including shows at Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China; “the 52th Venice Biennial” (2007), Venice, Italy and at Instituto Valenciano de Art Moderno (IVAM), Valencia, Spain.

Yang Zhichao is a multi-disciplinary artist whose best known for extreme performance pieces where he uses his own body as his main medium of artistic expression. It was the shock of arriving in Beijing in 1998, and the contrast between Beijing and the Northern province he came from, that inspired his first major performance art piece ‘Iron’. In this performance Yang Zhicao had is ID number burned by an iron bar and ‘branded’ into his back.

In 1999 Yang Zhichao created another remarkable piece, “Jiayuguan”, in which he hospitalized himself in Jiayuguan Psychosis Hospital as a psychopath and recorded his experience over a period of a month. Other powerful performance art pieces followed over the years including one that saw a doctor create incisions and then plant grass on his shoulder (without the use of anesthetic), and surgically implanting objects in his leg and stomach.

Yang Zhichao’s latest body of work ‘Chinese Bible’ features an installation of 3000 books which he spent three years collecting from second – hand shops and markets. These books are 3,000 personal diaries and notebooks inscribed with personal writings that span 50 years from 1949 to1999. The writings reach deep into the very essence of feelings among the Chinese whether emotional, political or even mundane. 40 pages selected from these books were turned by the artist into beautiful pencil drawings, framed and hung around the installation. This body of work in on show at the Chancery Lane Gallery in Hong Kong until 10th February 2012.

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