tempi di donne [time of women]

curator: Li Zhenhua / Monica Piccioni
artists: Hai Bo, Yin Xiu Zhen, Cui Xiuwen, Han Lei, Wang Ning, Chen Lingyang
address: Viterbo (central Italy, 80 km north of Rome) , Italy
time: March 1st, 2003
organizer: Officina.Ltd
Press kit:

artists art work for download:
hanlei>zip file> 338k
chenlingyang>zip file> 452k

articles about chen ling yang:
Li Xianting

Liao Wen

Female Bodies: Truth and Beauty
---- Chen Lingyang's "Twelve Flower Months" and the Self-consciousness of Female Mode
By Liao Wen 2001/4/9

In the history of art both East and West, women have conventionally been portrayed as coquettishly stroking their hair before a mirror or reclining on a couch. Women have been used to represent the illusive notion of "beauty" decided by different societies at different periods of history. Such traditional female "beauty" is a complicated and passive cultural definition and the key characteristic is femininity, as if women should be modest, tender, pretty and docile. Thus, female bodies in traditional art are often understood and represented as objects to be appreciated and consumed while the truest things of female body, the female genitalia and menstruation, have been taboos within artistic expression.
Thus in the 1960s and 1970s, it became the major content of western feminist art as women squarely faced the actuality of the female body in an attempt to destroy the traditional beauty of femininity. Feminist artists proclaimed that female bodies could provide their art with relevant subject matter, and at the same time were beautiful, sexy and spirited. Observing female bodies through their own eyes was a key factor for women becoming decisive and achievers. The "female body" became a kind of medium, an image, a concept or a theme to present the importance of women in feminist artworks at that time. They often made reference to female genitalia and menstruation, as most fundamental symbols of womanhood.
In 1971, Judy Chicago photographed an image of herself removing a Tampax from her body. She broke the purity of "femininity" and the menstrual taboo by recording the physical facts of the female body. She created the work "Menstruation Bathroom" in a sterile white bathroom in their own art space called the Women's House the following year. She exhibited boxes of Tampax and Kotex on an open shelf, and a wastepaper basket was overflowing with bloody tampons and sanitary napkins. Judy Chicago said that "'blood' is the only thing that cannot be covered in the bathroom but we can feel our menses just like we feel its visible image before us."
Carolee Schneemann made her performance Interior Scroll in 1975. She created a sense of the vagina as a sacred space - the narration came literally from inside her body - as she read aloud from a scroll pulled from her vagina.
It is common in feminist art works to endow the female body with an artistic concept that simultaneously breaks the mask of "beauty" as the artists employ their own bodies as the medium More importantly, they presented the truth of female bodies and a love of the beauty of female bodies. They criticized the unitary control and standard of female beauty in western culture and re-created the aesthetic feeling embodied by the female body in its natural state.
The taboos of those years are no longer problems for young women artists in the West today. Female bodies are just symbols for utilization. But for Chinese women artists, attention to women's issues and explorations of the female essence are presented in an intricate and ambiguous way. It is almost a "risk" to use the female body directly as a medium.
In the "Twelve Flower Months" by the young artist Chen Lingyang, what we see through the traditional Chinese mirrors are no longer the "beautiful" faces and bodies we are accustomed to, but the female sex organs in menstruation. The traditional poetic Chinese concept of twelve flower months provides a metaphor for the female physiological truth of menstruation through the twelve months of the year. With the traditional Chinese forms of ancient mirrors and garden windows, gentle and sober disposal of light and color around the sexual organs, directness of menstrual blood and stimulation, Chen Lingyang breaks the tradition in a seemingly traditional way and destroys the "femininity" with a seemingly "feminine" approach. The direct selection of the female topic, the attention to both "truth" and "beauty" of female bodies, and the utilization of Chinese traditions and feminine form are all skillfully and consciously presented.
We can find similar initiatives in the works of other young women artists in recent years, such as the bold expression of the current mentality towards sexual emotions and relations by Cui Xiuwen. These "New Generation" girls born in the 1970s have not received much normal traditional education about the distinction between men and women nor do they have much idea about the absolute equality between the two genders proclaimed during the Cultural Revolution. They are growing up in the relatively open and mature society of the age of information and globalization. They pay attention to their personal beauty within the new possibilities of leading a life of pleasure. Their success is natural. And the self-consciousness and relaxation in their female approach are simply enjoyable.


Chen Lingyang


Zhang Li

Hai Bo's work

DUSK -1/Color Photography/2002

THEY -Three Sisters/Colour Photography /1999/180 X 60cm

THEY I'm Chairman Mao's Red Guard/Colour Photography/1999


Yin Xiuzhen's work
SHOES /installation, mixed media- cloth and colour photography/1998/10 pairs SHOES /installation, mixed media- cloth and colour photography/1998/10 pairs SHOES /installation, mixed media- cloth and colour photography/1998/10 pairs


Cui Xiuwen's work
TOOT /Video /2001 /(3.30 min.) TOOT /Video /2001 /(3.30 min.)


Wang Ning's work
1201/16mm/2002/12.01 minutes 1201/16mm/2002/12.01 minutes

Chen Lingyang's work

12 month flower
peach flower
tea flower


Han Lei's work

 

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