Through The Body: Lens-Based Works by Contemporary Chinese Women Artists

Chen Zhe, Chun Hua Catherine Dong, Fan Xi, Fang Lu, Jin Hua, Ladybird Theatre, Lei Benben, Li Xinmo, Ma Qiusha, Ye Funa

Over the past three decades, Chinese contemporary art has had a profound impact on the international art world. Yet, outside of China, this impact has been predominantly encountered through the work of male artists. Through the Body brings together the recent work of a number of Chinese women artists and artist collectives from two generations, based both inside and outside of China. Focusing on lens-based practices, the exhibition is structured by the Chinese concept of Ti Shi, learning through bodily experience. The artists in the exhibition evoke this idea in their work by reflecting on and transforming their personal situations, experiences, and bodies to speak to the broader social and political situations they inhabit. The works explore issues related to family, sexuality, reproduction, cultural legacies, and social expectations, while examining the tensions between the new possibilities opened up by China’s political reforms, rapid economic growth, intense urbanization and industrialization, and the residues of tradition. By making visible their desires and exposing the contradictions they encounter in trying to occupy continuously shifting gender roles, these artists offer a vision of an emerging range of contemporary Chinese femininities. 


Organized with the University of Toronto Art Centre

Curated by Matthew Brower, Fu Xiaodong, Yan Zhou