Feng Jiali

Feng Jiali
b. 1963, Chongqing
Feng Jiali obtained her BFA in oil painting at the Sichuan Art Institute (1990) and a MFA from the Department of Oil Painting of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing (1993) (and see art academies). Her paintings are deliberate constructions of feminine excess and often display a ‘silly’ girlish atmosphere dominated by the colour pink. In her Girl’s Room Series, begun in 1995, partially undressed girls are heavily made-up with pink foundation, creating the effect of a mask, and lie idly on beds and sofas covered with overly decorative motifs. A sensibility for textiles and their feminine connotations recurs often in Feng Jiali’s paintings, where tactility is played out in the recurrent concern with patterning and textile designs. In Colourful Quilt with Golden Pheasant (1997), Feng paints a defiant contemporary girl reclining in the classic male-artist-arranged modelling position, her legs apart and her panties clearly on view.
Yet the bold look and the conscious acceptance of the condition of intimacy in which she is represented transform the usual pin-up into an empowering description of contemporary feminine ennui. These girls, firmly situated in an explicitly feminine space, appear consciously detached from the active and productive roles assigned to them by society. And by excessive highlighting of the character normally associated with the idea of female spiritual ‘lightness’, Feng Jiali ironically mocks general stereotypes and transforms them into an occasion for self-empowerment.
She has taken part in numerous exhibitions, such as a solo exhibition at the Courtyard Gallery, Beijing (1999), ‘Century-Woman’ in Beijing (1998) and ‘Die Hälfte des Himmels’ (Half of the Sky) also in 1998 at the Frauenmusuem in Bonn, Germany.
(1998). Feng Jiali/The Pedigree of Painted Faces (Fenmian puxi). Hong Kong: Xinshiji chubanshi.
Dal Lago, Francesca (1999) ‘A Silent Revolution? Century—Woman, China Art Gallery, Beijing’. ART AsiaPacific 22 (January) [exhibition review].
Werner, Chris, Qiu Ping and Pitzen, Marianne (eds) (1998). Die Hälfte des Himmels—Chinesische Künstlerinnen. Bonn: Verlag Frauen Museum.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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