Performance on the Roof
In summer 1995, Xing Danwen was asked by the artist Liu Anping to join him for an out-door event. Along with Juli, who Liu had met not long before and who would become his wife, they entered a university building in the Haidian district in Beijing and went straight up to its roof. Liu and Juli undressed completely and posed for Xing, the only witness, and his camera. She captured the lack of inhibition and boldness of the two young free spirits. Liu’s original idea was to do a series of staged shots, presenting Juli and himself as rough and tough. However, what we see instead are their vivacious personalities and a blend of tenderness and dynamics.
Liu carried on the dissident and rebellious spirit of Chinese performance art. In a public performance that he realized with his collaborator Wang Jinsong, he and Wang put themselves in handcuffs, standing in a bus and on a hillside in Jingshan Park for thirty minutes, respectively. In the video recording of this performance, we hear news being broadcast in the background. Throughout the 1990s, performance artists including Liu and many others were keen to express their political and aesthetic positions in public places.