Skip to main content
Menu

The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Rong Rong

Born Li Zhirong 1968, Zhangzhou, Fujian Province. Lives and works in Beijing. Rong Rong studied photography at the Central Academy of Arts and Crafts, Beijing, graduating in 1992.

East Village, Beijing no. 20 (Zhang Huan, 12 Square Metres), 1994 by Rong Rong
East Village, Beijing no. 20 (Zhang Huan, 12 Square Metres), 1994 by Rong Rong

In 1993 Rong Rong moved to Beijing’s East Village where he documented the lives of artist friends and performance art happenings. Since 2000 he has worked with his partner Inri. In 2006 they established the Three Shadows Photography Art Centre in Beijing, a leading gallery and research centre for photography.

Context and comment

“Performances by Zhang Huan, Ma Liuming and Zhu Ming were recorded by photographer-friends, notably Rong Rong (b. 1968), Xing Danwen and Ai Weiwei. Many of the artists lived in a newly formed community of experimental practitioners in Dashanzhuang, a run-down industrial area on the outskirts of Beijing. The area was called East Village in homage to the famous artist district in New York. Rong Rong’s photographs are now regarded as a valuable archive of performance art. Photographs include Zhang Huan’s 12 square metres 1994 in which the artist sat naked, smeared in honey and fish oil in a local public toilet for an hour before cleansing himself in a polluted pond; Ma Liuming performing naked as his female alter ego Fen-Ma Liuming in Fen-Ma Liuming’s lunch 1994, after which the artist was arrested and imprisoned for two months, and Fish child 1995; Zhang Huang and Ma Liuming’s joint work The third contact 1995; and Zhu Ming’s Performance no. 6 1997 in which the naked artist is contained within a bubble-like plastic balloon breathing through an internal plastic tube.”
(Roberts C. , Go Figure! Contemporary Chinese Portraiture, 2012)

Further reading

East village
http://artradarjournal.com/

The performance
www.zhanghuan.com

Museum of Contemporary Art on the Web
www.88-mocca.org

Heinrich, C. (2005). Mah-jong; Contemporary Chinese Art from the Sigg Collection. (Fibicher and Frehner, ed.) Germany: Hatje Cantz. pp. 300 – 301

Roberts, C. (2012). Go figure! Contemporary Chinese Portraiture. (D. C. Roberts, Ed.) Canberra and Sydney, Australia: National Portrait Gallery and The Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation.

© National Portrait Gallery 2022
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency