Lisson Gallery

Yu Hong

Yu Hong is known for her large-scale figurative paintings that depict the experiences of contemporary China. Trained in the Socialist Realist tradition, the artist evolved a style that uniquely and intimately represented her own experiences, reflecting those of her generation, witnessing the rapid social changes that took place in China. Working primarily with acrylic paint alongside pastels, fabric dye on canvas, silk and resin, Yu Hong approaches her work through a distinctly female lens, considering the relationship between the individual – in particular the role of the woman in society – within the community as a whole.

Often using photographs or existing visual materials as starting points, Yu Hong rearranges compositions to analyse the way memory is created. In the artist’s Gold series (2010-2011), we see an intensive study of the ancient Chinese paintings of Dunhuang and the murals of the Kizil Cave complex, as well as Western painterly traditions, all interwoven via the medium of gold leaf into the fabric of daily life.

Yu Hong’s recent works are epic in both scale and theme, uniting art and architecture to create immersive painterly environments. Concurrent Realms (2014-15) is a series of works that enter into the fantastical space and time of fables, albeit populated with real figures from Yu Hong’s life. She combines emotionally macro- and microscopic points of view to conceive an allegorical fresco of contemporary life in all its complexity. From the inner world to the infinite universe, the individual to the collective, the world of Yu Hong is suspended between the real and the dream, extending far beyond the canvas. “You only need to change your perspective to discover that this world is very unfamiliar,” she notes.

Yu Hong was born in 1966 in Xi’an, China. In 1984, she studied oil painting at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing and graduated with a post-graduate degree from the oil painting department in 1996. Since 1988 she has been a teacher at CAFA.

Yu Hong’s recent solo exhibitions include ‘The World of Saha’ (2019) at Long Museum (Shanghai), ‘Garden of Dreams’ (2016) at the CAFA Art Museum (Beijing), ‘Concurrent Realms’ (2015) at the Suzhou Museum (Suzhou), ‘Golden Horizon’ (2011) at the Shanghai Art Museum (Shanghai) and ‘Golden Sky’ (2010) at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (Beijing). Her work was also featured in ‘Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World’ (2017) at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York).

The Ship of Fools

Yu Hong
The Ship of Fools

2021 
Acrylic on canvas
250 x 900 cm

The Ship of Fools (Detail 1)

Yu Hong
The Ship of Fools (Detail 1)

2021
Acrylic on canvas
250 x 900 cm

The Ship of Fools (Detail 2)

Yu Hong
The Ship of Fools (Detail 2)

2021
Acrylic on canvas
250 x 900 cm

The Ship of Fools (Detail 3)

Yu Hong
The Ship of Fools (Detail 3)

2021
Acrylic on canvas
250 x 900 cm

The Scream

Yu Hong
The Scream

2020
Acrylic on canvas
250 x 600 cm

The Scream (Detail 1)

Yu Hong
The Scream (Detail 1)

2020
Acrylic on canvas
250 x 600 cm

The Scream (Detail 2)

Yu Hong
The Scream (Detail 2)

2020
Acrylic on canvas
250 x 600 cm

A Rising Gale Sweeps the Clouds across the Sky

Yu Hong
A Rising Gale Sweeps the Clouds across the Sky

2016
Acrylic on canvas
200 x 260cm

Watching the Waves

Yu Hong
Watching the Waves

2016
Acrylic on canvas
150 x 200cm

Crossed Boat

Yu Hong
Crossed Boat

2016
Acrylic on canvas
140 x 150cm

Sky Gate

Yu Hong
Sky Gate

2015
Acrylic on canvas
200 x 180cm

Ever Higher, Ever Further

Yu Hong
Ever Higher, Ever Further

2015
Acrylic on canvas
In total three panels, 600 x 250 cm, each panel is 200 x 250 cm

Ever Higher, Ever Further (Detail)

Yu Hong
Ever Higher, Ever Further (Detail)

2015
Acrylic on canvas 
In total three panels, 600 x 250 cm, each panel is 200 x 250 cm

Earth and heaven

Yu Hong
Earth and heaven

2014
Acrylic on canvas
In total three panels, 250 x 600 cm, each panel is 250 x 300 cm

Earth and heaven (Detail 1)

Yu Hong
Earth and heaven (Detail 1)

2014
Acrylic on canvas
In total three panels, 250 x 600 cm, each panel is 250 x 300 cm

Earth and heaven (Detail 2)

Yu Hong
Earth and heaven (Detail 2)

2014
Acrylic on canvas
In total three panels, 250 x 600 cm, each panel is 250 x 300 cm

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