Cheng Jin’s performance art - food workshop

Cai Qing

Performance art is tightly linked to the daily life of the artist. Performance art should be used to improve the living condition and help the artist to effectively explore the novel opportunities.

Cheng Jin is one of the founders for performance art in China. His persistence has made the “Open” performance festival possible throughout of the years. He has invested most of his fortune and life in performance art. He sold a villa, he inherited from his parents, more than10 years ago and since that the money has been utilized to support the performance festival. At its peak, 300 artists from all over the world have attended the 10th Open performance festival in 2009. This was definitely the largest performance festival in the world. This year, the 12th open performance festival will be moved to shanghai with financial support from an art institute. The scope of the festival is down sized due to limited financial resource. However, more troublesome is Cheng Jin’s personal existence. With raising living costs in Beijing, basic survival for an artist becomes very difficult, especially for a non-commercial artist like cheng Jin. He spent most of his adult life in pursuing pure art and fighting for his dream. He invested his money in creating a better environment for artists to express their thoughts freely and stimulated a generation of young artists. When he finished all his savings, he suddenly realized that he no long fits to the society, a highly pragmatic, commercialized society. Just like many other modern day Don Quixote, those heroes could not adjust for the difference between their dreams and reality. He was in a very difficult condition, he was isolated from others for a quite long time, tried to figure out a way to resolve his problem. However, doing nothing is still consuming, since the rent is a counting machine.

He is still living in the area of art centers 798, however there is not much he can do without money. To save money, he cooked at home and sometimes invited friends for dinner. He is from Sichuan province. He could easily make a table full of delicious dishes. Friends often compliment his art of cooking. He was inspired by his friends and realized again that he is a curator, an artist and he has more than 10 years of knowledge and documents about performance art. On top of it he also cooks well.

One of the most important elements of performance art is use your body as material for creation. The next is to emphasize the interaction with audiences. He thought, why not just invited people to his home for dinner and introduced performance art to them. This is transforming performance art into ordinary life and promoting performance art. When people come to his dinner, they will remember performance art, enjoy a feast of performance art. On the other hand, he can also benefit from this event and improve his living condition, so he could continue his art. He will host this kind of event regularly. However, the visitors need to make an appointment in advance. Each visitor donates 500 yen for the event. They will not know what will be on the dinner table, it’s up to Cheng Jin’s inspiration and interest on the day. This kind of spontaneous nature is very similar to performance art. No matter what will you be well fed, it is certain, people will understand more about the progress of performance art through this dinner. In addition, your visit will accomplish a performance art work together with the artist. You are experiencing art in daily life. 

Beijing 798 – Opening of Cheng Jin’ performance art – food workshop

Regular session upon appointment

Tel: 010 84569629

Date: 15 Oct 2011 5pm

Venue: Beijing 798

Curator: Cai Qing

Cheng Jin is the founder and curator of the most prestigious international performance festival “Open”. This has been the largest art event every year since 2000. The 12the “Open” performance festival will take place in Shanghai 800 art space, 21-23 October.

This “Cheng Jin’s performance art – food workshop” is an introduction to performance art world companied by delicious food made by the artist.

The curator Cai Qing is an artist and professor. He has obtained a PhD degree from China national art academy and is currently living in Singapore.

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