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1000 WORDS: YANG FUDONG

At the 50th Venice Biennale, Shanghai-based artist Yang Fudong presented The Seven Intellectuals in Bamboo Forest, 2003, the first part of his new filmic pentalogy, The Seven Intellectuals, an adaptation of the traditional Chinese stories known as “The Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove.” The first installment (shot in 35 mm black and white) begins the series’ exploration of the ambiguous position of intellectuals in contemporary China—their longing for individual freedom in the shifting context of an emerging capitalist economy. Yang, who was born in 1971 in Beijing and graduated from the China Academy of Fine Arts, Hangzhou, has shown an interest in the conundrums of idealism in his earlier works, such as the photographic triptych The First Intellectual, 2000, where he reflects on the difficulty of finding and adopting a rebellious and critical attitude in a society undergoing changes that

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