PRINT January 2020



Xiamen Dada event, outside the Cultural Palace of Xiamen, Fujian, China, November 24, 1986. Photo: Wu Yi Ming.

IN 1989, Huang Yong Ping traveled to France at the Centre Pompidou’s invitation to take part in Jean-Hubert Martin’s “Magiciens de la terre,” widely remembered as the “first truly international exhibition of worldwide contemporary art.” The artist decided to stay in Paris. Thirty years later, his life, cut suddenly and prematurely short, has left an indelible mark on art history.

Huang was born in 1954 in Xiamen, a city in southern China. From 1978 to 1983, he studied at the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts (now the China Academy of Art). By the time he moved to Paris, Huang had already established himself as one of China’s most prominent avant-garde artists from the so-called first generation after the Cultural Revolution. In the mid-1980s, the economically restructured and newly “opened up” nation came into contact with a deluge of foreign ideas, and many artists eagerly embraced

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