Cang Xin is a bona fide shaman; he holds the profound belief that all things have spirit – both animate and inanimate objects – and is a member of an order of enlightened holy men who have the ability to enter various forms at will. As one of China’s most celebrated performance artists, Cang approaches his work as a means to promote harmonious communication with nature. His works have included bathing with lizards, adorning the clothing of strangers, and prostrating himself on icy glaciers: each act representing a ritual of becoming the other.

Cang’s Communication is an ongoing piece, begun in 1996. Engaging with the world at large with his tongue – one of the most intimate and sensitive parts of the body – Cang’s performance represents an internalising of knowledge and a religious communion with place/person/thing. Sites for this performance have included Tiananmen Square and The Coliseum. In the work presented here, Cang recreates this performance in the gallery with a realer-than-real sculpture of himself. Cang minimises the concept of representation, creating an engaging ‘environment’ in life scale.

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