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Chen Shaoxiong (1962–2016)

Artist Chen Shaoxiong, a founding member of Big Tail Elephant Group—a collective of conceptual artists working in Guangzhou in the 1990s—has died.

In a July 2011 profile of the artist, Philip Tinari, director of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing, said, “Chen has never been afraid to work together with colleagues of his own and other generations, nationalities, and sensibilities.”

Tinari wrote: “In the Big Tail Elephant, the model was loose: a group coalesced as much out of exhibition or organizational necessity as out of a shared set of thematic concerns. It persisted in the collective mind of the Chinese art scene more because of the quality and unity of the work its members realized than because of any manifesto. ‘There was no leader,’ [Chen] notes. ‘It was a platform, a way of working together, for the sake of revolution.’”

Born in China’s Guangdong province in 1962, Chen graduated from the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts in 1984 and formed the Big Tail Elephant Group shortly after. More recently, he worked as a member of the Asian artist collectives Xijing Men and Project without Space.

Chen participated in the 2003 Venice Biennale, the 2005 Guangzhou Triennial, and the 2002 Shanghai Biennale. His works have been exhibited at MoMA PS1, the International Center of Photography in New York, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Kunsthalle Bern in Switzerland, Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin, and Tate Liverpool in London.

Chen’s works can be found in the permanent collections of M+ in Hong Kong, the Guangdong Museum of Art in China, China Minsheng Bank, New York’s MoMA, the Seattle Art Museum, and the Guy & Myriam Ullens Foundation in Switzerland.