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

Chen Lingyang

Zhang Li

Chen Lingyang and her "Twelve Flower Months"
By Zhang Li 2001/5/22

Chen Lingyang's work "Twelve Flower Months" is the result of a yearlong effort. In analyzingthis work, one can find many crucial elements, for example the artist's monthly physiological changes over the course of a year, a study of the temporal rhythms of different blooming flowers, again over the course of the year, as well as a collection of mirrors with which the artist viewed herself, a dozen shapes based on doors and windows of traditional Chinese gardens, not to mention all of the unique methods of lighting, color, and contrast she used in producing the series of works. In the juxtaposition of menstrual periods and blooming flowers, one experiences the cycles of nature. The frank and direct presentation of menstruation gives the audience a provocation, but it is precisely this pure expression of the actualities of the female body that prevents people from using the regular standards of image-based art to judge the work; it even transcends the discussion of issues of sexual taboos. Although the artist straightforwardly tells us that she is portraying the reproductive organs during the menstrual period, the audience still cannot grasp the special psychological reaction they have when seeing fresh blood. The connection of women and flowers is something that has been done throughout the ages, in China and the West, but Chen Lingyang presents the "metaphor" as reality. On the surface the combination of flowers with the reproductive organs during the menstrual period seems abrupt and even carries a feeling of violation, but actually it is just a presentation of a fundamental reality. By psychologically "holding herself up to a mirror", the artist achieves a truth and clarity in the mirrored symbolism. The image represents the artist's reckoning with the complicated emotions of selfhood. This kind of self-inspection is usually carried out from a personal angle, but the artist set up the intrusion of a camera, turning this self-inspection into the inspection by others. The artist's control of the scope of the frame, angle, lighting, and other factors express the subjective emotions of the artist, giving people a somber, confined feeling. The visuality of the specially shaped borders of the work restrict and make manifest the subject in a way that is related to the way of observing in the world in traditional Chinese thought. Chen Lingyang uses the nostalgia of classical Chinese literature in what on the surface seem to be her extreme actions. In describing natural scenery like floating clouds, the setting sun, flowing water, flowers in bloom, etc., Chinese poets often used a tone that expressed regret over the temporality of existence and shortness of human life. Photography captures special conditions that the artist took great pains to set up or sat in wait for, which corresponds to this kind of aesthetic of rapid disappearance and intangibility. Normally, people like to see women's pretty faces, perfect bodies, elegance and softness in speech and behavior, and so on. "Twelve Flower Months" exposes the aspect of women which people hide from, yet is the most real. This is also a roundabout way of expressing the pressures felt by women in a male society. The background of "Twelve Flower Months" is related to traditional Chinese philosophy, which transcends sexual difference, but as the work of a female artist, it was produced from an extremely personal angle. We can read and understand this work from the angle of feminist art, and at the same time the work can be even more fully completely understood from an angle that transcends feminism. "Twelve Flower Months" has a definite level of privacy, widely separated from daily reality; it is as if one has achieved a level of freedom in the space of a private room by closing off the outside world. This reflects the artist's feelings of avoidance, powerlessness, fright, and exclusion from the outside world. We can see some of this in a portion of the artist's writings:
"In facing the real world, I feel that I'm usually frightened and at a loss. In public places and social gatherings, I always have to force myself to remain composed, I always have to suppress inner feelings of nervousness. I have a serious sense of inferiority, and I don't know how to handle my affairs. I lack a sense of security when walking down the street, I even want to become invisible, because I'm so scared of people paying attention to me; however, with art, I have a definite level of freedom. I can transform those feelings of craziness into creative interests, and don't have to feel ashamed when facing the deepest aspects of myself. In addition, I can also appreciate the wisdom and humor of others, at which I feel the value of being human."
"Twelve Flower Months" provides an imagistic text, and also provides the audience with a multi-angled space for interpretation. The reactions and criticisms of different audiences is dependent upon the background of their personal identities; however, in combination with the expression of the artist in "Chen Lingyang Interviews Chen Lingyang No. 2, April 28, 2001," the more deeply and carefully one observes and experiences "Twelve Flower Months," the more equivocal, complicated, and multi-layered it becomes. It seems as though the artist is setting a trap to force people to return to the original significance of images after they've experienced feelings of astonishment, awkwardness, and confusion, to the extent of a return to emptiness. But this astonishment, awkwardness, and confusion cannot be disposed of easily; it remains to steer people to go a step further in their examination and questioning.

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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