Lisson Gallery

Yu Hong in ARTnews China: "The Female Gaze is an Instinct"

22 April 2024

The March 2024 issue of ARTnews China highlights the theme ‘Women Are Seen’, featuring an exclusive cover shoot and interview with internationally renowned artist Yu Hong. The Asian Art Initiative of the Guggenheim Museum, New York, will present the first major exhibition in Europe of artist Yu Hong. ‘Yu Hong: Another One Bites the Dust’ will take place concurrently with the 60th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, from 20 April to 24 November 2024. The presentation is curated by Dr. Alexandra Munroe, Senior Curator at Large, Global Arts, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation. In March 2024, the Chinese edition of ARTnews visited Yu Hong's studio right after her Venice project was announced.

When we delve into the topic of female artists, we're not dealing with a matter that can be neatly summarised. The imperative to acknowledge female artists is concrete and pressing. As noted by the renowned feminist art scholar Linda Nochlin in her critical masterpiece ‘Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?’ in 1971, we confront the underlying issues. Nochlin's work underscores that the notion of women's involvement in art isn't a mere side note but a pivotal catalyst for questioning ingrained assumptions and fostering intellectual exploration. It serves as a springboard for delving into fundamental and assumptions, offering a paradigm for introspection and forging connections with radical paths in various fields. Consequently, discussion on female artists isn't merely about seeking definitive answers but about opening doors to a wider array of possibilities and enabling us to pose more probing questions.

In Yu Hong’s ‘Her’ series, she portrays the female friends in her life within the intimate context they inhabit. Subsequently, Yu Hong delves deeper into her own experiences as a woman. Across her ‘Witnessing Growth’ series spanning decades, she juxtaposes tender and warm narratives of mothers and children relationship with archival news images to construct her narrative—a contemplation on the essence of life itself. This unique creative approach exudes an intuitive energy, resonating with broader themes such as urban development, social conflicts, climate change, and even the future in the post-pandemic era. Yu Hong questions why and how women perceive certain phenomena, and how to replicate their perspectives? The characters and bodies in Yu Hong's paintings remind us not to give up on such questioning.

“The Venice exhibition has been planned for several years, and I am very much looking forward to finally realizing it this year. I have been to Venice many times and am deeply impressed by the various styles of churches there. When conceiving this exhibition, I wanted to have a dialogue with the religious art there, which essentially conveys contemplation of the ultimate questions of life. My exhibition also discusses life and death and various circumstances of life, which somehow connect with the church space. The church that was chosen for the exhibition is highly appropriate both in style and in size. Condensed through the baptism of history, the space possesses a profound sense of time, which seamlessly integrates with the artworks, forming an organic whole.”

Read more via the Chinese edition of ARTnews.

Yu Hong in ARTnews China: "The Female Gaze is an Instinct"
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