Protest artist to mark Liu's forbidden Nobel with London parade
China's Liu Xiaobo, this year's recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, is praised around the world for his pro-democracy campaigning and human rights work. To his native government, however, he remains a dissident and a subversive.
Liu is serving an 11-year prison sentence in China for incitement to subvert state power. And while his presence in Oslo on 10 December will be marked by an empty chair, in London a Taiwanese artist hopes to mark the occasion with a different kind of protest.
Next Friday, Vincent J F Huang aims to shackle and blindfold a "prisoner" and parade him in a horse-drawn cart through the centre of London. Beginning at the Tower of London, the performance art will make stops at Tate Modern, the Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square, Pall Mall, Hyde Park and Speaker's Corner before passing along Oxford Street and finishing at the Chinese Embassy on Portland Place.
Mr Huang said: "Most people are afraid of offending China but I am in a unique position, as a resident of Taiwan and as an artist who has a desire to be publicly intelligent. If China is to become the great nation it aspires to be, it needs to learn about basic human rights."
To accompany the performance, entitled Habeas Corpus in reference to the legal action through which a prisoner can be released from unlawful detention, a selection of Mr Huang's other work, including gold-plated bronze medals, will feature in a pop-up exhibition at his The Vaad Gallery, Mayfair from next Wednesday. Other pieces include a sculpture built to resemble the tanks of Tiananmen Square and three-dimensional representations of Chinese leaders.
Mr Huang lives and works in Taipei and Shanghai. Born in Taiwan in 1971, he studied commercial art then fine art in Taiwan and Aberdeen. He is becoming known for outlandish performance pieces that highlight important issues.
In July, on the Polynesian island of Tuvalu, Mr Huang staged a swimming performance piece to raise concerns over rising sea levels in the small Pacific country. He has also made a polar bear holding US President Barack Obama's severed head in its mouth, and hung "polar bears" from nooses beneath London's Millennium Bridge.
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