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Memories (Me)
Date: 2000
Artist and Related People:
Dimensions: Image: 33 1/8 x 33 11/16 in. (84.1 x 85.6 cm) Paper: 48 3/8 x 33 1/8 in. (122.9 x 84.1 cm)
Medium: Chromogenic print
Description: Your Mirror: Portraits from the ICP Collection Section: Self portraiture In Sheng Qi’s work, the artist’s personal history intersects with China’s official history. Defiant and disillusioned with the government after the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, the twenty-four-year old artist decided to leave the country but wanted to leave part of himself behind; he chopped off the little finger of his left hand and buried it in a flowerpot in Beijing. Although Sheng Qi graduated from Central St Martins College of Art and Design in London, it was only after his return to Beijing in 1998 that he began to incorporate his amputation—described as his proudest moment—into his photographs, paintings, sculptures, and performances. While his altered body references his specific struggles with the Chinese government and its propaganda, it also symbolizes similar struggles of millions of Chinese. In this and other large-scale photographic portraits, always on a red background associated with communist China, Sheng Qi’s hand cups a photograph of a person integral to his identity and his past. Here the heroic hand holds a tangible memory—a black-and-white photograph of himself as a smiling child, before his life and body were forever altered by the Tiananmen Square massacre.
Accession Number: 7.2004