He Yunchang, Nirvana Flesh No. 6, 2013, performance at BOZAR, Brussels (BE)


Born in 1967 in Lianghe, Yunnan (CN)
Lives and works in Beijing (CN)


He Yunchang is a performance artist who specializes in undergoing extreme physical duress or injury; he later offers photographs, videos and paintings of the event for sale.

Several of his works have been bloody processes in which incisions of specific lengths were made in various parts of his body. Perhaps the most sensational of these mini-dramas, One Rib, involved the surgical excision of most of He Yunchang’s lowest left rib; unusually, he was anaesthetized for the procedure. The arc of bone was cleaned and integrated into a circular gold necklace.

For One Meter of Democracy (2010), 25 people were asked to decide in a secret ballot whether the artist should have a meter-long cut made down his left side, from just below his clavicle to his knee. By a margin of 12 to 10 (with three abstentions), they approved the proposal. With voters and cameramen looking on, a surgeon duly made the incision while the operation—minus the groans of the fully conscious artist—was recorded in a series of photographs.

The artist has said he conceived the performance as a physical demonstration of “the tension between the individual and the state”, represented by the scalpel as well as the ballot box.


Education of He Yunchang


Oil painting, Central Yunnan Art Institute (CN)


Fukuoka Asian Art Museum (JP)
Centre Georges Pompidou (FR)
White Rabbit Gallery (AU)

Queensland Art Gallery (AU)
Macao Museum of Art (CN)
Private collections of Uli Sigg and Jin Hongwei



A Healthy protest, He Yunchang long-life fruits performance, Today Art Museum, Beijing (CN)


Water forming stone, Ink Studio, Beijing (CN)


Worldly Fate, White Box Museum, Beijing (CN)


Nirvana·Flesh – He Yunchang Live Performance, Irène Laub Gallery (FEIZI), BOZAR Museum, Brussels (BE)


The Wings of Live Art – He Yunchang, Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing-Lucerne, Lucerne (CH)


The Wings of Live Art – He Yunchang, Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing-Lucerne, Beijing (CN)


The Ability to Exist, Galerie Nasional Indonesia, Jakarta (ID)


Rock Touring Around Great Britain, Chambers Fine Art, New York (USA)



Beyond Stuff, Mizuma and One Gallery, Tokyo (JP)


Heiqiao Night Away, cur. by Cui Cancan, Beijing (CN)



Bodies – Performance Art in China 2, Irène Laub Gallery (FEIZI), Brussels (BE)
Bodies – Performance Art in China, Irène Laub Gallery (FEIZI), Brussels (BE)


Attitude, Shit-Art Center, Zhengzhou, China (CN)
The State of Things. Brussels/Beijing, BOZAR, Brussels (BE)
Art in Busan 2009: Inter-City, Busan Museum of Art, Busan (KR)
City-net Asia 2009, Seoul Museum of Art (SeMA), Seoul (KR)
The 4th Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale 2009, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Fukuok (JP)
Yi Pai – Century Thinking, Today Art Museum, Beijing (CN)
13 NO KAOS, Duffy Gallery, Kunming, China; Jie Fu Gallery, Beijing (CN)


Our Future, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Ullens Center, Beijing (CN)
China: Construction and Deconstruction, Museum of Contemporary Art of Sao Paulo (BR)
China’s 30 years of abstraction, Beijing Wall Art Gallery (CN)
Beijing 08 ‘Contemporary Art Exhibition, Beijing, Black Bridge Gallery, Beijing (CN)
Free Fall, Beijing, Chen Ling Loh Contemporary Space, Beijing (CN)


Out of control, KU Art Center, Beijing (CN)
Performa 07, Washington Square Park, New York (USA)
Net, Chambers Fine Art, Beijing (CN)
Starting from the Southwest – Exhibition of Contemporary Art in Southwest China, Guangdong
Museum of Art, Guangzhou (CN)
Foreign Objects, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (AT)


He Yunchang: Works, Spacex, Exeter, UK, Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool (UK)
Cold Energy: Sensibility and Power, Pyo Gallery, Beijing (CN)


The Wall – Reshaping Contemporary Chinese Art, The Albright-Knox Art Gallery, New York (USA)
Millennium Art Museum, Beijing (CN)
Sky of Destiny – 2005 Invitation Exhibition of Chinese Contemporary Oil Paintings, Shenzhen Art Museum, Shenzhen (CN)
Inward Gazes – Documentary of Chinese Performance Art, Macao Museum of Art, Macao (CN)
Ten times ten – The Second Exhibition of Contemporary Art, Songzhuang Artists Village, Beijing (CN)
Mahjong – Contemporary Chinese Art from the Sigg Collection, Kunstmuseum Bern, Berne (CH)


Officina Asia, Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Bologna (IT)
Chine, le corps partout (China, the body everywhere?), Museum of Contemporary Art, Marseille (FR)
Matchmaking at Suzhou Creek, Eastlink Gallery, Shanghai (CN)
Is it Art?, Shanxi Provincial Art Museum, Xi’an, (CN)
A Chang’s Persistence, Beijing Tokyo Art Project, Beijing (CN)
Degenerated, Modern Chinese Art Foundation (MCAF), Gent (BE)


Sharjah International Art Biennial, Sharjah (UAE)
Artificial Aspiration, Sanhe Art Center, Beijing (CN)
Together with Migrants, Beijing Today Art Museum, Beijing (CN)
Lijiang International Art Festival, Lijiang (CN)


Busan Biennale, Busan (KR)
Chinese Modernity, Armando Alvares Penteado Foundation (FAAP), Sao Paulo (BR)
Cut In, China Art Archives & Warehouse (CAAW), Beijing (CN)
New Spirit of Asian Art, Seoul (KR)
Highlights of the Chengdu Biennale, Courtyard Gallery, Beijing (CN)
Run, Jump, Climb, Walk, Yuanyang Art Center, Beijing (CN)


Visibility, China Art Archives & Warehouse (CAAW), Beijing (CN)
Dislocation, Chambers Fine Art, New York (USA)


Fuck Off, Eastlink Gallery, Shanghai (CN)
Chinese Oil Paintings of the 20th Century show, National Art Museum of China, Beijing (CN)


Metamorphosis – 2016 Fourth Biennale China-Italia of Contemporary Art, Beijing (CN)

ART021, Shanghai (CN)


Art Brussels, Brussels (BE)
ART021, Shanghai (CN)
55th Venice Biennale (IT)
FUCK OFF II, cur. by Ai Wei Wei, Feng Boyi, Cui Cancan, Mark Wilson, Groninger Museum (NL)


Hong-Kong International Art Fair (CN)


The 1st Chengdu Biennale, Chengdu Museum of Modern Art, Chengdu (CN)


FUCK OFF, cur. by Ai Wei Wei, Feng Boyi, Shanghai (CN)