Artist Feature: Who is Xiao Lu?


Note: This Artist Feature is important for a continuous arrangement to record the female craftsmen whose articles were included or improved Wikipedia during the Art + Feminism alter a-thon I co-composed in March 2016.

Development/Style: Contemporary execution, establishment and video craftsmanship.

Nation: China.

A long time: 1962 – still alive!

Indeed, who right?

Xiao Lu (肖鲁) is a Chinese craftsman who rose to overall distinction when she partook in the 1989 China Avant-garde Exhibition with her work, Dialog. Two hours into the presentation, she shot her own work with a pellet firearm and made the show promptly shut down. Her activities were viewed as a danger to the Chinese government and she was right away kept. After four months, when the Tiananmen Square slaughter happened, her shots were named “the primary discharges of Tiananmen”.

The China Avant-garde Exhibition was at that point a dubious occasion. It got official consent to open at the National Art Museum of China in Beijing on the fifth February 1989. As the first historically speaking craftsmanship presentation for contemporary Chinese craftsmen curated exclusively by Chinese coordinators, it was totally special and progressive. Official specialists thought of it as a provocative call of majority rules system, and after the Tiananmen Square slaughter, the show was alluded to as “the little Tiananmen Square”. Against this exceptionally politicized and tense environment, Xiao Lu’s shots gave the ideal image and beginning stage for what was to come.

In the wake of being confined in China and figuring out how to advance toward Australia, where she lived and worked for a long time, Xiao Lu currently lives in China and still makes craftsmanship and partakes in displays. Establishment workmanship has remained her fundamental center, alongside execution craftsmanship and video craftsmanship.


Xiao Lu shooting her work Dialog in 1989. Picture from edge presentation/

Give me the tattle!

Maybe the greatest astonishment with regards to Xiao Lu and her renowned shots is that her purposes behind firing the pellet weapon were close to home, not political. She affirmed this in a 2014 meeting with the Sydney Morning Herald, following quite a while of theory about her goals. Notwithstanding, she likewise expressed that she upheld the political translations of her activities, saying, “I made the work out of close to home emotions, yet this work got deciphered with political implications… I don’t dismiss this. I’ve come to comprehend that with this work, making it for myself is a certain something, yet how it is deciphered is likewise a major piece of it.”


Xiao Lu in 2014 in her Beijing Studio. Picture from Sydney Morning Herald at recalls first-discharges of-tiananmen-20140530-zrspf.html

Tang Song, Xiao Lu’s long-term ex-accomplice, is somewhat of an unusual figure in her life. At the point when the discharges previously occurred, he was fundamentally observed as Lu’s co-plotter (in spite of later records uncovering that he essentially had nothing to do with the episode), being kept along with her and delivering an announcement along with her in regards to their aims. Their announcement to Gao Minglu, the keeper of the Avant-garde Exhibition, peruses as follows:

“As gatherings to the shooting occurrence upon the arrival of the kickoff of the China Avant-garde Exhibition, we think of it as a simply masterful episode. We think about that in workmanship, there might be specialists with various understandings of society, however as craftsmen we are not keen on legislative issues. We are keen on the estimations of workmanship all things considered, and in its social worth, and in utilizing the correct structure with which to make, so as to complete the way toward developing that understanding.

Xiao Lu, Tang Song”

Tang Song likewise followed her to Australia, yet they in the long run split up. In 2004, after the separation, Xiao Lu affirmed with Gao Minglu that she was the sole creator of the shooting episode. This caused reaction in the Chinese workmanship world, where individuals were not ready to eliminate creation from Tang Song. Xiao Lu was blamed for, in addition to other things, lying and letting out some pent up frustration on account of their separation.

Give me a speedy choice of her craft!


Exchange (1989), displayed again in 2011 at the National Art Museum of China. Picture from

Exchange, 1989

This is the craftsmanship that Xiao Lu shot in 1989. The craftsmanship itself has nearly been clouded by the shooting. It comprised of two pay phones, one with a figure of a man and one with the figure of a lady, and a red phone hanging between them. The craftsmanship was viewed as an individual one by Xiao Lu, despite the fact that we have no genuine thought of what its significance might have been. It stays hazy how huge a section the discharges really played in the importance and conceptualisation of the work.

Sperm, 2006

See pictures of this work here.

Sperm comprises of both an establishment piece and a narrative style video indicating Xiao Lu’s quest for a sperm contributor as a solitary lady with a powerful urge to be a mother. This inquiry happened only a couple of years after her split from Tang Song. The work politicizes her hunt, causing to notice the way that Chinese ladies are not permitted IVF treatment except if they’re hitched. In the video, she counsels a Western specialist who vows to play out the methodology is she can gather and freeze the sperm. As the work shows, she at last neglects to do this.


Love Letter (2011), Xiao Lu. Photograph from displays/10-chancery-path exhibition/fine arts/xiao-lu/love-letter/#

Love Letter, 2011

Love Letter is about her pregnancy and comprises of an establishment piece that fused charcoal, Chinese natural medication and bits of xuan paper. The charcoal and medication were customary home grown cures that she took to keep herself solid during her pregnancy. On the bits of paper, she recorded her inward considerations, each appearing as a mystery.

Where would i be able to look on the off chance that I need more data?

By a wide margin the best wellspring of data on Xiao Lu and her life is simply the book Dialog, composed by Xiao Lu herself in 2010. In spite of the fact that it’s anecdotal, it’s intensely founded on her own life. It likewise incorporates an incredible foreword by the custodian of the 1989 China Avant-garde Exhibition, Gao Minglu.

You can likewise look at a portion of the displays that speak to her, for example, White Rabbit Gallery in Sydney and 10 Chancery Lane Gallery in Hong Kong, just as her profile on ARTLINKART.