China: Artist on censorship and finding freedom in the provinces

23 September 2015

Provincial cities like Wuhan might provide more freedom from official intervention, reported Lise Movius in The Art Newspaper on 23 September 2015 in connection with her interview with Zhang Dali – an artist who is known for his controversial graffiti, paintings and sculptures and who is now due to have his first retrospective in Wuhan.

“Places [in the South] like Guangzhou are more open. Northern China is more conservative, and bigger cities have more government scrutiny on the art scene. China is changing, but to us artists it is too slow, we would like to have no censorship,” told Zhang Dali.

Zhang Dali is a seasoned veteran when it comes to navigating state censorship, wrote Lisa Movius, quoting him as saying: “I’ve been censored a lot, from my very first show in May 1987, in Beijing’s Sun Yat-sen Park, which was up for three days then closed. It hurt a lot. I’ve since gotten used it.”

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China tops Freemuse’s global statistic of arts freedom violations with 38 cases in 2014.

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