contemporary art: china


In their effort to show that they aren’t scared of the Red Dragon, European cultural organizations – and in their trail artists, writers, scientists and others – are visiting China more frequently than ever. The Beijing Case, a somewhat conventional exchange programme organized by the Cultural Fund of the German Republic, brings together artists, film directors and writers from the two countries, among them Thomas Bayrle, Antje Majewski, Ma Yinglis and Cao Fei. Although the make-up of Cao’s work is extremely surreal, on the level of meaning and action it deals with completely ordinary experiences. Her film COSplayers, (2005) is both challenging and chilling: it juxtaposes the fantasy world of video games, in which young urban people in China spend their days, and the increasingly alienating expectations of society and family life. The piece sends a clear message about the management of fear among young people in China’s big cities. Welcome to the club.

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