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Industry Talk: Light in the Endless Black Stars-1979, The Beginning of Chinese Contemporary Art

Exhibition details

6 June, 2019
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Light in the Endless Black
Stars-1979, The Beginning of Chinese Contemporary Art
A Panel Discussion with Huang Rui, Ma Desheng, Li Xianting, Pi Li

On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the famed 1979 Stars Exhibition, the Stars Art Foundation, Asia Art Archive, Asia Society Hong Kong and Hong Kong Art Gallery Association will co-present a panel discussion between Huang Rui, Ma Desheng, Li Xianting and Pi Li, moderated by Anthony Yung. This collaborative discussion presents a unique opportunity to hear first-hand accounts of a pivotal turning point in China’s Contemporary Art history, The Stars Exhibition, as well as contemporary observations on the event and its impact on future generations of Chinese artists.

Date: Thursday, 6 June 2019
Time: 6:30 pm
Venue: The Miller Theatre, Asia Society Hong Kong Center
Admissions: Free. Please register here.The Stars Exhibition 1979, A Turning Point for Art in China

On September 27, 1979 coinciding with the 30th Anniversary of the People’s Republic of China, a group of avant-garde and non-academy trained Chinese artists staged an unpermitted exhibition on the railings of the National Art Museum of China.

The group is called The Stars (Xing Xing 星星), named because they saw themselves as points of light in the endless black. Some of The Stars’ works of art were explicitly political. However, most of the works in The Stars exhibitions were non-political and distinguished themselves from official art rather by their choice of style and subject matter, exhibiting a use of banned Western styles or individual artistic expression that challenged both aesthetic convention and political authority.

Thousands of people attended the exhibition. It was closed by the police after just two days. When the works were removed, a mass rally ensued. After discussions, the group was granted a space to show: The Stars Art Exhibition (星星美展), at Beihai Park, Beijing. The exhibition included 163 works by 23 nonprofessional artists. The Stars Art exhibition was a turning point for art in China. The Stars were invited to exhibit at the National Art Museum of China in the second Stars Exhibition the following year.