In an unusual exhibition of art last month, Chinese performance artist Kang Yi stood, nearly naked, on a raised podium in an auditorium in Guangzhou. With his arms outstretched and tied to a wooden plank across his shoulders, Kang remained completely still as a woman doled out hundreds of hickeys on his chest, abdomen and arms.
The woman, a female art student, continued to bite and bruise Kang with her lips for an hour and a half before dousing him with basins of water at the end of the performance, according to news website and online forum Iyaxin.com.
In the work, Kang, who is known for his controversial performance art, aimed to inspire others to choose a traditional path of love.
"It's a critique of the concept of chaotic love," Kang told reporters after the performance, Shanghaiist reports. "I hope that my art piece will call out to today's youth to seek out the excellent genuine love and feelings of traditional China."
Wearing white bikini-like underwear, Kang was almost completely nude on stage, providing ample room for the hundreds of hickeys. He also donned tree roots in his hair to signify time and tied three roasted chickens to the plank across his shoulders that positioned his body into a cross-like shape.
Although only a few dozen witnessed the live show, videos of the work (like the clip seen above) were quickly circulated on China's micro-blogging sites.
A writer for website Beijing Cream criticized Kang's work, writing that the demonstration was confusing.
The shock value itself of Kang’s piece is not enough. Use of public nudity and self-mutilation is not new to the Chinese performance scene. Zhang Huan covering himself in honey, sitting in a public toilet, and waiting for the insects to descend upon him is a prime example of great art. Kang, on the other hand, makes a spectacle of himself without considering the audience as viewers, onlookers, voyeurs at all.
Performance artists have often used public nudity or gone to extremes, such as self-mutilation, to express their art or make a political statement.
In July, Russian artist Petr Pavlensky sewed his mouth shut with coarse thread to show support for the jailed Pussy Riot members.
What do you think of Kang's hickeys as performance art? Tell us in the comments below.