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Gu Wenda

Human Materialist

By HG Masters

Portrait of Gu Wenda. 

Courtesy the artist and Hanart TZ Gallery, Hong Kong.

Just six minutes into our breakfast conversation mid-May in Hong Kong, Gu Wenda describes himself as a "troublemaker," who "didn't follow school requirements—even as a teacher." I'd expected as much from an artist who made his name outside of China beginning in the late 1980s with massive installations incorporating human hair and, for a notorious (but brief) period, using menstrual blood, placenta powder and even semen. Yet, as the amicable, bespectacled Gu reveals in our

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