Shu Yang is a performance artist, curator, writer and director of live art festivals. His artistic practice often uses iconic Chinese objects to explore communism, socialism and the current social situation in China.
He graduated from the Xi'an Academy of Fine Art with a BA in 1993 and a master's degree in 1996. He initially we worked at the Tianjin Institute of Urban Construction, before becoming a curator in 1999.
After moving to Beijing in 2000, he collaborated with Zhu MIng and Chen Jin to produced the Open Art Festivals, the first dedicated performance art festivals held in China. The second festival was held in Cheng Du in 2001 and attracted unwelcome attentions of the Chinese authorities. This was followed by a 3rd festival in 2002 held in Xian which featured performances by many of the important live artists of the time. In 2003, Shu Yang organised the first Dadao Live Arts Festival. He remained the Director of the annual festival until 2009. He was also the curator of the 798 Biennale in 2005.
Shu Yang has also worked as an editor for Chinese art magazines and art publications, including Next Wave and 798 Art Info. He has been a member of Beijing Paper Tiger Theater Studio since 2000. He was the planner of the Lightning Factory, Beijing from 2007 and directed the DaDao Live Art Foundation from 2009.
He has also worked internationally, curating numerous shows of photography, painting, and film in Germany, Italy and the UK. In 2003 he was an independent curator of China-UK Arts Management Placement Programme at Visiting Arts, London and Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff, UK.
In 2004 he took part in a residency at the Chinese Arts Centre to research live arts in the UK and develop contacts for future Dadao festivals. During his residency he developed performances and curated live art events at other venues, including Pieces of China, Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool (2004 Nov 07), Beijing Works: New Performance from China, Holden Gallery, Manchester (2004 Nov 12), and an event at Hull Art Lab, Kingston-Upon-Hull, (2004 Nov 28).
In 2005, he co-curated the China Live tour in collaboration with the Centre and the Live Art Development Agency. The show featured live performances and screenings of works by Chinese performance artists and was exhibited in eight venues across the UK.