By following the stories of nine contemporary Chinese artists, The Phoenix Years shows how China's rise unleashed creativity, thwarted hopes, and sparked tensions between the individual and the state that continue to this day. It relates the heady years of hope and creativity in the 1980s, which ended in the disaster of the Tiananmen Square massacre. Following that tragedy comes China's meteoric economic rise, and the opportunities that emerged alongside the difficult compromises artists and others have to make to be citizens in modern China.
Foreign correspondent Madeleine O'Dea has been an eyewitness for over thirty years to the rise of China, the explosion of its contemporary art and cultural scene, and the long, ongoing struggle for free expression. The stories of these artists and their art mirror the history of their country. The Phoenix Years is vital reading for anyone interested in China today.
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About the Author
O'Deais a writer and journalist who has been covering the political,
economic and cultural life of China for the past three decades. She first went to Beijing in 1986 as the correspondent for the Australian Financial Review newspaper,and covered
China through the 1990s as a producer with ABC Television.She was the founding editor-in-chief of Artinfo China and the Asia correspondent for Art + Auction and Modern Painters magazines.
Shehas written for a range of other publications includingthe
Guardian, The Art Newspaper, Bazaar Art, the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age,
the Toronto Globe and Mail,and The Australian.
Table of Contents
A note on Chinese names ix
ONE Beijing 1986 1
TWO I do not believe! 15
THREE The Stars 44
FOUR Very heaven 75
FIVE A terrible beauty 108
SIX Nothing to my name 152
SEVEN Whose Utopia? 179
EIGHT Beijing welcomes you! 200
NINE Isn’t something missing? 221
TEN Amnesia and memory 245
ELEVEN The people and the republic 281
Dramatis personae 299