Artists show that feminism is a ‘Chinese characteristic’


Metaphor and Gaze, an exhibition in Shenzhen in Guangdong Province, features installations, videos, paintings, performances and textile works by female artists. EVERYDAY CHINA

This year sees the third edition of curator Zhu Yujie’s group exhibition of women’s art, a project held each year with the aim of providing more opportunities for women artists.

The Metaphor and Gaze exhibition opened at La Vie Art Center in Shenzhen, Guangdong province on February 27.

Zhu says she has consciously and continuously learned gender theory since university, and her MA studies in culture, criticism and curation at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in the UK brought her attention to the roles discreet women in art. the story.

“Female artists still have relatively fewer opportunities to display their works in art museums and galleries, and few group exhibitions focus on female subjects,” Zhu said.

“Only by constantly exhibiting works by female artists and writing about these works can they be known to more people and entered into the history of art.”

The exhibition, which runs until March 28, features installations, videos, paintings, performances and textile works by 17 female artists.

According to Zhu, the title Metaphor and Gaze is about artists expressing the true desires, enigmas, confusion and anxieties of women from different levels and perspectives, and exploring love, healing and growth shared by humans. .

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Through the artists’ perspective, the show expresses the concerns and hopes of women and explores love, healing and growth. EVERYDAY CHINA

“In these unique times (of the pandemic), we have had new life experiences and new understandings, and I realize more and more that art is the best way to break down barriers and prejudices, and to bring people together. people. And for artists, their creation and thinking never stops,” says Zhu.

“In the history of art, images of women are often only objects to be contemplated. In our exhibition, women are the subject of creation.

Zhu says she feels a growing number of people are supporting female art. While she overcame various obstacles in organizing previous exhibitions on a limited budget, this year she was invited by Xiao Yu, founder of La Vie Art Center, who provided the venue.

The art center is an industrial space with rough concrete walls,

which Zhu says tackles the stereotype of fragile women and allows artists to converse with viewers through powerful artwork.

Due to the large space, artists can display works on a larger scale, and many have decided to do the installation themselves, one of them being artist Yuan Xiaotian.

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The exhibit also includes a reading room section titled Writing Her Power, featuring books from 20 feminist publishers. EVERYDAY CHINA

Her installation, Flow, weaves thin metallic threads into a translucent folded fabric that twists and hangs in the air.

“A lot of people seeing this installation for the first time will think it’s made of fabric or silk, but it’s actually made of metal. I think it’s like women, who can be gentle, but also very strong on the inside. It’s a representation of the saying “an iron fist in a velvet glove”, says Yuan.

“Apart from three specially invited artists, we have mainly highlighted artists born in the 1980s or 1990s. Most of them learned art abroad, have a broad vision and excel in the creations of multimedia art,” says Xiao.

The exhibition also includes a reading room section titled Writing Her Power – Women’s Situation and Writing, featuring books from 20 publishing houses on themes such as female power, self-identity and relationships.

Zhu says setting up a reading room has been a recurring feature of her previous exhibits, as books have played a major role in her learning about gender theory.

Artist Wen Qiwen was asked to create paper artwork titled Go With the Flow for the reading room, featuring paper jellyfish suspended in the space. Wen thinks the relationship between jellyfish and water is a metaphor for that between humans and society.



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