Yu Hong

Yu Hong
b. 1966, Beijing
Yu Hong graduated from the Department of Oil Painting at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, where she currently teaches. So far she has been the only mainland Chinese female artist to have participated in the Venice Biennale. In her early paintings she showed a clear interest in the description of the life of her contemporary urban youth. The figures, hard-edged and monochrome, were captured in playful moods against an empty background. The movements frozen in the moment, appeared pointless and weird, signalling hesitation. These works were exhibited at The World of Woman Artists’ (Nühuajia de shijie) at the Museum of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 1990 and at ‘The New Generation’ at the Museum of Chinese History in 1991, among other venues.
After becoming a mother in 1994, Yu Hong began to address her own life and that of her daughter as the main art subjects. She created a large body of oil paintings depicting the personal episodes that she considers as the most meaningful in each of her first thirty-six years. When exhibited in a solo show, ‘Witness Growth’ (Mujie chengzhang), held at the East Modern Art Centre in Beijing in 2002, these realistic, colourful and diary-like works were juxtaposed with photographs marking the most important historical events relevant to the year to which the painting referred.
As a whole they serve as a record of the much broader growth experienced by youth of Yu Hong’s generation.
Dal Lago, Francesca (1993). ‘Il realismo critico della giovane arte cinese’ [The Critical Realism of Young Chinese Art]. In Punti Cardinali dell’Arte, Catalogo della XLV Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte. Marsilio: La Biennale di Venezia, 538.
Hess, Nicole. (2002). Witness Growth (exhibition catalogue). Beijing: Modern Art Publishing, 87–9.
Wei, Qimei. (2002). ‘Chenzhong de chanshi: du Yu Hong de “Mujie chengzhang”’ [Deep Interpretation—A Review of the Exhibition ‘Witness Growth’ by Yu Hong]. Meishu yanjiu 4:22–4.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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