Tong Yujie "Chinese Feminist Art" / In Chinese & English

2020-09-06 16:37 0

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Book: Chinese Feminist Art / In Chinese & English

Author: Tong Yujie

publication: China Today Art Museum Press 2018


This iconic, pioneering work features a booth, painted on each side with the backs of a young man and a young woman. There was a mirror in the middle, at which the artist shots a gun. The sexual harassment that the artist experienced as a young girl and the subsequent emotional traumas she had in relationships with men pushed the then-young frmale artist to the point of a nervous breakdown, which led her to do performance with a violent aesthetic. ( page 230-231 )


The visual logic produced by a square-shaped ice wall, an interactive, gives rise to multiple cultural visions. From the ice, knife, people, and blood in the work, we can see the desire for and the difficulty of obtaining freedom. The freezing and encirclement of evil can trap human flash, but the courage and fresh blood of kindness can chisel through the cruelty and romance of freedom, which is suffocating, but also exciting. Especially when the sharp knife pierces through the wall, the broken ice, the broken icicles, the fresh blood, and the knife from free flowers, using beautiful cruelty to activate our numb inclinations to goodness. A free human nature belongs to the artist, but it also belongs to every person who is born free. Although humanity contains good and evil, the pursuit of ultimate goodness is the foundation of human freedom. ( page 232-233 )


In male-dominated discourse, a woman's vagina is the shubjest of insult. In his famous The Tropic of Cancer, the American novelist Henry Millar compared the vagina to "an ugly notch, a never healing wound and a despicable ditch. "The artist borrows from the French poet Baudelaire's famous poem collection The Flowers of Evil and associates the vagina with a huge free stump shaped like the organ, to reveal the insults and injuries women have suffered throughout history. ( page 234-235)


The title is derived from the French sbsurdist play The Bald Soprano, written by famous playwright Eugene lonesco in the 1950s. In this case, because the words for "spear" and "song" are pronounced the same way in Chinese. This replacement suggests that, in order for feminist art to further develop in China, artist should rely on arms and weapons (conflict) instead of songs and dances (superficial harmony). Xiao Lu, Li Xinmo, and Lan Jing shaved their heads at the opening to respond to the theme. This gender-crossing performance was intended to dismiss the cultural consensus on femininity. ( page 302-303 )


The artist invited sevited several male artists and critics to donate their sperm for her IVF plan. The proposal was met with cold refusal and suspicion from the invited men. Here, the artist's wish to be the master of her own body constitutes a threat to the idea of heterosexual conception within male-dominated discourse. The work challenges the social ethics and sexual psyches dictated by heterosexual relationships. ( Page 304-305 )


At a conventional wedding ceremony for heterosexual for heterosexual couples, the artist staged a cross-casting performance of marrying herself to herself. With the cooperation of the marriage withness, the artist put rings on her left and right hand fingers respectively. symbolically completing the ring exchange ceremony between the bride and the groom. The artist singlehandedly accomplished the ceremony, which only exists within the power structure of heterosexual love contracts. The work casts doubt on and challenges the exclusivity of the power structure formed by hetersexual contracts. ( Page 306-307 )