Hei Yue

Born in 1967 - China


Born in Xining, Qinghai Province in 1967, He Yue (Ji Shengli) graduated from Qinghai Normal University in 1989, and currently works and lives in Beijing. He has participated in such international festivals as the Dashanzi International Art Festival (Beijing, 2005) and The 3rd China-Japan Performance Art Exchange Project (2006). He has shown his work at the Shijiazhuang Contemporary Art Museum (Shijiazhuang, 2007), the Deborah Colton Gallery (Houston, 2008) and, most recently, at Galerie Paris-Beijing for the group exhibition Incarnations (Paris, 2012), for the Paris Photo(Paris, 2014).

Artist Ji Shengli adopted the name Hei Yue ("black moon") back in the heyday of the Yuanmingyuan artist colony, one of China’s most fertile art communities that flourished from the late 80s until being disbanded in 1995. "Hei Yue" Ji Shengli originally made his name in the avant-garde art scene as a painter, but after moving to Japan in 2001 he began to work with the medium that would take his work to a new level.

123 Buttocks is the title of Hei Yue’s ongoing performance art series, acclaimed in the US and China, as well as Japan. Incorporating elements of humour with figures of authority and questions of propriety, Hei Yue's performances employ a cheeky method to pose serious questions about politics and society.

The artist wears self-designed pants (similar to the split pants Chinese kids all wear) revealing his buttocks and with one hand, he spanks himself repeatedly while holding different toys used as props. Hei Yue always chooses particular sites and occasions; he faces them, revealing his buttocks for the public to reflect on with their own perspectives. He often appears before symbols of power, authority and tradition as he spanks himself repeatedly: policemen, Buddhist monks, Japanese fishermen in traditional (and more notably, butt-revealing) garb, Chinese women in wedding dresses or traditional clothing and more.

Hei Yue’s use of props is also a manifestation and extension of his central preoccupations. In 2004 Hei Yue went to New York for a change of scene. In Central Park, Times Square, Chelsea, the Boston area and elsewhere, he continued to document his "self-discipline" on film, carrying a plush, pink stuffed monkey wearing an "I Love NY" t-shirt. Back in Beijing in 2005, he began to experiment with a range of props, such a vibrating French tickler dildo mounted on a long, menacing staff. He suggestively brandished this staff, the ultimate symbol of power and domination, before a phalanx of police while clad in his signature buttocks-showing pants.

Most recently, he realized a series of oil paintings and sculptures that meditate on the same subject matter as his performance art. In Hei Yue’s photographs, painting and sculptures, the butt signifies a child-like state of tenacious naivety and a refusal to be sucked into the so-called "adult" world of dirty games.

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Incarnations, Galerie Paris Beijing, Paris, France
A History of Chinese Photography, Hotel Winnsinger, Brussels, Belgium

Incarnations II, 798 Art District, Beijing, China

Incarnations, 798 Art District, Beijing, China

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