To discuss the massacre of Chinese students who confronted power at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, in 1989, Liu Wei works from a realm that is at once intimate and transpersonal. The photograph of a man who stands alone facing a line of war tanks on the square, overrun by Chinese troops—one of the most iconic images of the 20th century—is the code for accessing memories blocked out by fear and censorship. The artist approaches passersby and questions them about the event. The question is repeatedly met with denial and evasion; the massacre is a taboo topic. There is no complicity, empathy, mourning, or grief; faced with the picture, everyone falls silent or runs away from the camera and their own memories.
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