Chinese artists Li Xinmo and Xiao Lu both talked about discrimination and violence against women. What was their main point, and how did they use it in their artworks?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Li Xinmo and Xiao Lu both use a variety of forms including installations, videos, and performance art to express their ideas about patriarchal violence against women. For instance, in a performance piece called "I am 5 Years Old," Li Xinmo tells the true story of a five year-old girl who was raped by her father. At the beginning of the piece, Li takes a razor blade that has been resting on her neck and puts it in her mouth. As she talks, the blade cuts the inside of her mouth, making the story physically as well as psychologically painful. The audience's horror at the traumatic tale of sexual violence against a child is compounded by witnessing the pain of the artist.

Both Li Xinmo and Xiao Lu have used guns to represent patriarchal violence in their work. In Li Xinmo's photographic work "Vagina Memories," the barrel of a gun is inserted directly into a woman's vagina. Xiao Lu is perhaps best-known for turning an installation into a piece of performance art when she shot at her own artwork, a piece called "Dialogue," which shows a man and a woman talking to each other in telephone booths. The shooting occurred at the 1989 China/Avant-Garde Exhibition, causing the exhibition to be shut down only two hours after it had opened. Four months later, the Tiananmen Square massacre occurred, after which some journalists referred to the shots fired by Xiao Lu at the exhibition as "the first shots of Tiananmen."

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial