Artists of Yuanmingyuan
Release year: 1995
Run time: 33 mins
Film type: Documentary
Some years before 1995, a group of young artists seeking creative freedom moved to villages in the west suburbs of Beijing, where there were lakes, woods, and the ruins of the Winter Palace. These artists sold their paintings or other craft products to make a living. Their work was rebellious and rejected traditional aesthetics, which attracted the attention of the local authorities. Rumours circulated that these authorities would expel the artists from the villages; this finally became reality in the spring of 1995. This film tells the story of these artists in the spring of 1995 and the winter that followed.
Hu Jie is an independent historian, artist, and filmmaker. Born in Jinan, Shandong in 1958, he graduated from the Art College of the People’s Liberation Army. He works in oils and woodcuts from his lakeside studio in Nanjing. His films are among the most important documents of China’s unacknowledged “unoffcial history”, and include Looking for Lin Zhao’s Soul (2005), about a martyr-poet critic of Mao; and Though I Am Gone (2007), about an elite Beijing girls’ high school whose students murdered their headmaster at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution.