Light before Dawn: Unofficial Chinese Art 1974-1985 presents a revealing look at the creative spectrum of China’s most influential contemporary artists from three different artist groups of the period: Wuming (No Name), Xingxing (Star), and Caocao (Grass Society). More than one hundred artworks, including a significant number of paintings and sculptures, will be on view, together with ephemera and personal items.

Wuming, Xingxing and Caocao were formed by like-minded artists in Beijing and Shanghai during the 1970s. Spanning two generations, the artists never ceased to create artworks, sometimes working quietly and even secretly, until the Communist Party’s decision to relax restrictions on artistic practices in 1985. Between the pivotal years of 1974 and 1985, the young members of Wuming, Xingxing and Caocao sought to resist the proliferation of official art by innovating through new interpretations of nature, abstraction and ink painting. Crossing the boundaries of subject matter and style, they often questioned, re-evaluated and redefined the forms, the nature of beauty and the art of China. Works in the exhibition trace the beginning of modernism in the post-Mao era. The exhibition aims to shed light on the little-known artwork of this era, which helped to set the stage for the emergence of a contemporary art movement in China and also on the global scene.

About the exhibition

Duration: 15 May 2013 – 1 September 2013

Address: 9 Justice Drive, Admiralty, Hong Kong

Tel: +852-2103-9511

Courtesy of Asia Society Hong Kong, for further information please visit

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