Market Stall Performance, Shenzhen, (as part of Shenzhen Action: British-Chinese Action Art Encounters)

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Market Stall Performance, Shenzhen Live was a site-specific development of a performance art strategy where I set up a Market Stall in a pedestrian alleyway outside the Ya Ku Library Art Space. The artwork was an ‘Interactive Performance’ as the artist tries to sell his wares in the very public arena. The artist’s endevoured to engage the public through humor and surreal imagery and processes, in order to hold their attention and engender thought on global politics and contemporary society in seemingly harmless ways. The strategy for the Performance has evolved from the central observation that members of the public engage/collaborate with art and the artist without knowing that they are taking part in an artwork, although through their engagement they become aware of the art, or being involved in art. My intention therefore was to create direct engagement with ideas under the guise of selling. The fact that the Market Stall was aligned to other traders is a key factor within the composition and conceptual strategy for the artwork. I find that a public audience engages with the artwork more directly if they are not initially aware of it within the category of art. It is therefore partially camouflaged and the public, while in ‘consumer mode’, encounter ideas or are forced to ask questions about the nature of my art/processes/wares. In this way I find that dialogue and communication is brought to the forefront of the encounter through humor and the often, surreal nature of the activities and art objects encountered.Prior to this event I was invited to do an Artists Talk during which I created a Performance Lecture at the Shenzhen Middle School and also took part in a post performance public discussion outside of the Ya Ku Library Art Space, both organized by the British Council and hosted by Jonas Stampe. (See Programme below)Programme – Courtesy of the British Council Part One: “Shenzhen Action: British-Chinese Action Art Encounters” Artists Talk Time: 16:30 – 18:30, 3 December 2010 Venue: Auditorium, Shenzhen Middle School Speakers: Brian Connolly, John Court Host: Jonas Stampe * Note: This is an exclusive event for teachers and students from Shenzhen Middle School. Part Two:“Shenzhen Action: British-Chinese Action Art Encounters” Live Performance and Public Discussion Time: 14:00 – 18:00, 4 December, 2010 Venue: Outdoors of Ya Ku Library Art Space, Shenzhen Overseas Chinese Town Artists: Brian Connolly, John Court, Yingmei Duan, Ge Ya Host for public discussion: Jonas Stampe
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 4 Dec 2010

Bibliographical note

Shenzhen Action: British-Chinese Action Art Encounters, jointly brought about by the Cultural and Education Section of the British Consulate-General and the prestigious European contemporary arts curator Jonas Stampe, in partnership with Shenzhen Middle School and Ya Ku Library Art Space, is going to be held in Shenzhen on the 3rd and 4th of December 2010. The influential UK contemporary artists Bill Drummond and Brian Connolly, as well as the Chinese avant-garde artist Yingmei Duan and independent artist Ge Ya will bring to the public live performance, presentations and public discussion on a 2-day span.

In recent years the number of action art festivals is on apparent rise globally, and for that matter, it takes no prisoner in different countries in Asia. Nevertheless, action art has nowadays become a novel and influential arts medium that attracts more and more participants like a magnet. Among them, a large proportion of the population is a younger generation of artists who are into “the art belongs to the future”. On this occasion, this British-Chinese Action Art Encounters could present to the public the interaction and comparison between ‘old’ and emerging action artists. The intellectual dialogue between Chinese female artists and western male artists are inspiring both on the academic and educational front. Action art is an avant-garde and experimental new form of art on the fringe and, what’s more, it appeals to people who understand it by seeing and feeling it emotionally and intellectually. It could also ignite and inspire our poetic understanding and learning about time and life. Every work of every artist presents in this event is non-renewable. It’s here and now. It’s ephemeral and special.

(Courtesy of the British Council Website)
Performance type: art
Outputmediatype: Artist's Site-Specific Performance


  • Market Stall Performance
  • Performance Art in China
  • Shenzhen Performance Art
  • Jonas Stampe
  • Brian Connolly
  • Brian Connolly Artist
  • Brian Connolly Performance Artist
  • Public Performance Art
  • Interactive Performance Art
  • Interactive Performance Art in Public
  • British Council Funded Performance Art
  • Art Trading Strategies
  • Surreal Humor in Art
  • Humor in Performance Art
  • Site-specific Performance Art
  • Artist as Negotiator
  • Relational Practices
  • Relational Art Practice
  • Relational Performance Art
  • Performance Art in Context
  • Interactive Art in China
  • Performance Art Curated by Jonas Stampe
  • John Court
  • Yingmei Duan
  • Ge Ya
  • Action Art
  • Action Art in China


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