Dialogue ( Installation/Performance)

2022-11-23 19:55 0

Artist: Xiao Lu

Performance Time: AM, 5 Feb. 1989

Location: National Art Museum, Beijing, China.

Material: Custom-made aluminum alloy telephoto booth, balck/white photograph, red telephoto handset, glass, mirror, concrete flags, handgun, bullets,small advertisement with traces of writing in ink, polypropylene adhesive. 

Exhibition: China/Avant-garde 

Director of the exhibition organizing committee: Gao Minglu 

Members of the exhibition organizing committee: Gan Yang, Zhang Yaojun, Liu Dong, Liu Xiaochun, Zhang Zuying, Li Xianting, Tang Qingnian, Yang Lihua, Zhou Yan, Fan Dian, Wang Mingxian, Kong Changan, Fei Dawei.

Exhibition Time: 5-19 February 1989

Photograph/Video offer: Wen Pulin Archive of Chinese Avant-Garde Art


Performance Process

At about 11.10 am on 5 February 1989, during the opening ceremony of the China/Avant-garde Exhibition at the National Art Museum of China, Beijing, being moved by inner psychological needs, I raised a gun and fired two shots at the installation work Dialogue where it was set up in the exhibition hall.


About "Dialogue"

The original idea of "Dialogue" stems from personal despair. The work shows a man and a woman making a call; the phone line hangs in the middle, proving the impossibility of such a dialogue. In this contradictory state of mind lies the original idea of the installation "Dialogue". The last gunshot was a roar out of suppressed emotions.

_ Xiao Lu

13-3 枪击后的中国美术馆广场。摄影:王友身.jpg


After gunshot exhibition was closed


12-2 华盛顿邮报(美国).jpg

The "New York Times" on February 6, 1989, with the headline "Police in China Close Art Show After Artist Shoots Her Work", reported that the exhibition was closed and Xiao Lu shot her works.


On February 13, 1989, the Washington Post also reported that the "China Avant/Garde" was closed. The original report related to Xiao Lu is as follows:

It appeared, however, that the whole show might shut down perma-nently Feb. 5, only hours after it opened, when a woman artist in her twenties fired two bullets into the sculpture she had created.

The sculpture shows two people in phone booths with a mirror between them. The two bullets struck the mirror. Police seized the artist and her pistol and closed the exhibition for four days.

The show opened again Friday after the police completed their investigation and the artist, Xiao Lu was released.

12-3 时代周刊(美国).jpg

On March 6, 1989, "Time Magazine" reported the news of "China Avant/Garde". The content related to Xiao Lu is as follows:

Visitors were also treated to a more startling exercise in xing-dong vishu when artist Xiao Lu, 26, applying the finishing touch to an installation titled Dialogue--full-scale models of a man and woman in separate telephone booths connected by a large mirror -_fired two pistol shots at her large work. The shattering glass frightened gallerygoers, and officials promptly shut down the exhibition for four days for stir-ring up "social unrest." (Later, during its second week, the show was closed again for two days because of a bomb scare.) Perhaps predictably, reaction to the provocative show focused on its eccentricities. "Tying ropes and junk together can now qualify you to exhibit in the national art gallery," scoffed one visitor quoted in the Farmer's Daily, "That's great progress for China."