Half the Sky

Half the Sky Front cover web

As with all other aspects of global life, China has a greater impact today than it did 30 years ago. But Chinese artists, especially the women, are still an unknown quantity. Luise Guest tries to tackle this shortfall in knowledge with an intriguing and well-presented look in her book, Half the Sky. At 224 illustrated pages the book highlights the work, sometimes bizarre, always thought-provoking, of the gender in China that Mao claimed held up half the sky. Anyone who has visited China know they do more than that and the 32 artists featured in the book keep the sky from falling in ways you can barely imagine.

 

 

Guest knows her subject and has a gift to bring the reader on a journey with her. Take for instance the chapter titled Nushu: This is an obscure traditional female language used in the remote areas of Jiangyong County, Hunan province. The outside world discovered this language in the 1980’s just as it was fading out. The slanted script stitched on fans, handkerchiefs and clothbound books was given to brides to show marriage as a terrible fate.

Nushu allowed women to articulate their sorrow and anger at the stoic endurance of suffering expected of them and so the emphasis is more on duty at the expense of individual desire reinforcing Confucian sensibilities of obedient submission to familial authority.

Artist Tao Aimin’s Book of Women used wooden washboards collected from hundreds of rural women over many years. She has collected over a thousand of these artefacts of female history, and has recorded the details of each owner. Tao Aimin doesn’t see herself as a feminist artist although she is sensitive to the idea of female destiny, it is humanity male and female that is important. Tao has scrolls and books with the traces of ink on washboards and marks made by the act of printing suggesting mountains and misty waterfalls of literati landscape painting. By choosing Nushu as her calligraphy Guest writes of Tao “ She inserts a language invented by anonymous, unlettered rural women into the rarefied canon of the Imperial Scholarly tradition, bringing a largely unacknowledged female history into the light of day.”

Another artist in the Nushu spectrum is  performance artist Ma Yanling. (I have worked with her on various projects over the years such as ‘Irish Wave’ exhibitions here in China and also ‘Intimate Transgressions’.) Also a photographer and painter, Ma Yanling’s ‘Suitcase Series’ shows the artist tightly bound with plastic tape or silk ribbon as she crams herself into small cupboards and suitcases. “These metaphors of bondage and confinement are feminist expressions of dissent in a country where dissent can come at a high price.” This series of work is included as one of the core artworks which are part of the travelling  Intimate Transgressions Project which I have been writing about this past year.   The next show will be at Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall Taipei  Oct 2016.

 

Neither is the book heavy in it’s focus. The cover of the book is adorned with Bu Hua’s AD 3012 and the back cover her work Brave Diligent. Bu Hua along with Cui Xiuwen and Cao Fei are highlighted in the first chapter Alter Egos and Avatars offering worlds of paradox filled with humour, wit and pathos but also with tones increasing levels of anxiety. “Distanced from the collective past, they have embraced the pluralist possibilities of the present whilst remaining clear- sighted about its dangers.”

 

The fourth chapter Black as lacquer- Reinventing Ink looks at how the significance of ink painting and calligraphy in Chinese history continues to resonate with the reinvention of these ancient traditions. Ink artist Bing Yi’s work spans from meditative miniature contemplations to her vast scale site specific installations. She has even applied ink from a helicopter for some of her installations. Bing Yi lives and works in an old temple and her work is informed by Buddhist beliefs embodying the notion of eternity and in certain respects deals with the notion of detachment.

This book is a companion to anyone who wants to understand the forces driving a sector of the art world that is emerging from the dark corners. Guest deserves our gratitude that she was able to throw some light on it.

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At the Red Gate Gallery  “Half the Sky” exhibition in April where 16 of the artists in the book were featured .

Half the sky Book talk at Bookworm Beijing

With Luise Guest when she gave a book talk at the Beijing Bookworm in April 2016

 

 

Half the Sky – Conversations with women artists in China,  by Luise Guest is published by Piper Press 2016.

 

Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art

 

Niamh Cunningham- Bio 。。。个人简介-倪芙瑞莲
Link to newspaper coverage -Carlow Nationalist (click on image)

In Her Eyes, F&E 100x100cm acrylic on canvas, 倪芙瑞莲Niamh Cunningham 2019

Recent ‘China-Ireland’ exhibition Shanghai Nov 29th 2019

China Ireland exhibition at MUSEu&m, Shanghai , opening Nov 29th

Current Sculpture project HongFangzi ShaWan Sichuan
‘Whirls in the Old’ in New York at the exhibition ‘1919’

1919-Whirls in the Old Terezin acrylic on canvas 30x30cm Niamh Cunningham 2019

Gobi Heaven Art Festival August 2019

Participating in the International Artists program for this exciting event in the Gobi Dessert

Group Exhibition , Hamilton Gallery , Sligo, Ireland
Granary Art exhibition SiShui Shandong June 2019

Granary Art Exhibition SiSHui , Shangdong June 2019 click on image

Swim Duck Video …30 sec clip of original work recently shown at Bloomsday event at Embassy of Ireland Niamh Cunningham 2019
clip from Swim Duck video Niamh Cunningham 2019

Clip from 'Swim Duck' Video by Niamh Cunningham 2019

Group exhibition in Sishui, Shangdong 正在展出

Granary Art Museum , Sishui, Jining , Shandong

April /May 2019 in Budapest 近期展出匈牙利

Currently showing in Budapest Aprli- May 2019

Wandering Rocks series of portraits 游岩系列
Talk on James Joyce at Bookworm with prof Fu Hao 乔伊斯座谈会
Aritst Talk on James Joyce at Beijing Bookworm

Talk on James Joyce at Bookwork Beijing April 2019

RTE interview on preparing for upcoming group exhibition 2 min clip
Web Of Fabulous Grass – Sucrose Series Click on image for Artist Profile English &简体中文
Artist talk at Beijing Geely College Dec 11th 2018
Map and Territory project Nov -Dec 2018 at Beijing Geely University
Map and Territory

Map and Territory

Current Events 正在展出

 

即将展出:

*2019年11月装置中国—红房子首届国际户外装置创作营在乐山沙湾红房子开营 …开始阶段

 

正在展出:

2019年11月”中国 爱尔兰  MUSEu&m , 上海

 

最新动态:

*2019年11月装置中国—红房子首届国际户外装置创作营在乐山沙湾红房子开营 …开始阶段

 

*2019年8月*Gobi Heaven- August 戈壁。天堂-八月

*2019年7月”1919″ 爱尔兰  Sligo -Hamilton Gallery  

*2019年5月“胜日寻芳“ 山东济宁市泗水等闲谷艺术粮仓美术馆

*2019年4月-5月在匈牙利首都布达佩斯

*2019年4月”奥德赛——回归”群展2019年4月13日在东岳美术馆开幕。

*2018年11月-12月“地图与疆域”国际艺术邀请展 北京吉利学院

*2018年11月-12月“纸上·至上”展览,韩国光州市立美术馆北京创作中心

*2018, 10月中欧国当代艺术全球巡展·上海

2018, 9月-10月“纸上·至上”展览,沈阳市拓•空间,

2018, 6月-11月诗人叶芝日,爱尔兰,斯莱戈(SLIGO),汉密尔顿艺术画廊

*2018年8月 淮阴艺术馆提名展,淮安市

*2018, 8月 “纸上·至上”展览, 鄂尔多斯,

*2018 , 6月30日 济南“国际抽象艺术展”

*2018 , 6月17 日 纸上•至上2018 在青岛,

*2018 , 5月20 日存在-国际女性艺术展,湖南长沙,

*2018 , 4月21 日延缓的时间,4月21日-29日,红门画廊,798艺术区

*2018 , 4月20 日 挖掘,,和画廊,来鹏高尔夫俱乐部

*2018年4月-12日 挖掘, , 展览,悦美术馆,北京798艺术区

*2018年2月-3月深圳观澜版画艺术区,5个星期驻地项目

*2018年1月28日-3月3日,《红&果》,流浪美术馆融空间,新年主题艺术展,北京中关村融科资讯中心

*2017年12月,中外视觉艺术湖南展,湖南长沙梅溪新天地梅溪书院.

*2017年12月末至2018年1月末, 《时间之外》主题艺术展, 北京中关村融科资讯中心

*2017年12月, 形质与叙事, 形质与叙事, 东岳美术馆

 *2017年12月,广州新造当代艺术中心,纸上·至上 纸艺作品群展.

Upcoming Exhibitions

* Sculpture project in HongFangzu , Shawan, Sichuan , begining phase Nov 2019

Current Exhibition

*China Ireland exhibition at MUSEU&m, near the Bund , Shanghai, Nov 29th 2019

*1919 – Group Exhibition (Hamilton Gallery) in New York, Irish Consulate

*1919 – Group Exhibition Hamilton Gallery , Sligo , Ireland July – September

Recent  exhibitions:

*Gobi Heaven Art Festival , Inner Mongolia , August 2019

*A piece of Cotton Paper  9th floor gallery Songzhuang June 15th

*”Winning the Day ‘ Granary Art Centre,  SiShui , Shandong, May – June 2019

*Beyond the form of Art , Wick Art Centre , Budapest, Hungary may 2019

*Odyssey The Return ; group exhibition at Dong Yue Art Museum, Beijing  in April

Map and Territory Art IRRCA at Beijing Geely College Nov 20- Dec 20 2018

*Thousands of Sprouts, an experimental online exhibition – by Elizabeth Ross  Nov 2018

* On Paper Supreme, Gwangju Art Museum Beijing Creative Centre Songzhuang Nov- Dec 2018

*China Europe Internaitional Contemporary Art Global Tour Shanghai Oct 2018

*An Irish Airman foresees his Death – Hamilton Gallery Sligo, Ireland June – Nov 2018

*On Paper Supreme, Extension Space, Shenyang, Liaoning,  Sept 16th – Oct 21st  2018

*Artist Nomination Exhibition, Huaiyin art gallery, Huai ‘an shi, Jiangsu, July-Aug 2018

*On Paper Supreme, Ordos Culture and Art Centre , Inner Mongolia , Aug 17th – Sept 10th  2018

*International Abstract Art , ChungChuen College, Jinan, July 2018

* On Paper Supreme, QingDao , Tiantai Art Centre, June 2018

* Existence , International Feminist Art Exhibition,  Mezzi Bookstore Art Space , Changsha

* Excavations 20 April-4th June  He Gallery, Golf Club.

*’Mortgaged Time’ 21st- 29th April at Red Gate Gallery , 798 Beijing  April 21st

*’Excavations’ 12-18th Enjoy Museum 798,  Beijing   preview 5 pm 12th April

* 5 week residency at Guanlan Printmaking base , Shenzhen (Feb-March 2018)

*Lunar New Year theme exhibition “Red Fruit” showing at Raycom IT centre, Zhongguancun,  28th Jan continues to March 3rd, organised by RoveArt , supporting the Female Protection Fund.

*Chinese & Foreign Visual Arts Hunan,  at the Meixi Academy Book Complex, Changsha Dec 26th to Jan 26th 2018.

* ‘Beyond Time’  Raycom IT Centre, Zhongguangcun, Beijing Dec – Jan 27th  2018

*”Qualitative Phase and The Narrative” Beijing Film Academy Triennial Exhibition at Dong Yue Art Museum, Beijing, curated by Li Zhen till Dec 18th 2017…………………………………………….

 

-.On Paper Supreme made its final exhibition for 2018 in Beijing Songzhuang opening Nov 16th
Group exhibition Hamilton Gallery, Sligo Ireland,
Hamilton Gallery Sligo - Lonely Impulse 2

A response to WB Yeats poem 'An Irish Airman Foresees his Death'

Group show Oct 27th Shanghai Bund 27 The House of Roosevelt House , the Bund Shanghai
Recent ‘At your Leisure’ Summer exhibition Jiangsu “悠游“——淮阴艺术馆
exhibited in Jinan curated by Ma Yi Ying
With curator Guo Zhen at the opening of Existence in Changsha , exhibition continues till end of July 2018

和策展人郭桢在开幕式《存在》

简体中文Artist Interview & Profile for the Art Project ‘Existence’
Group exhibition at Red Gate in April 2018 focussing on antiwar poet Ingeborg Bachmann
Niamh Cunningham 'Bachmann Girl' 2017

Artwork for poster is 'Bachmann Girl' 100x100cm Acrylic on Canvas by Niamh Cunningham 2017

Excavations showing at Enjoy Museum 798 April 2018

Excavations , a cross collaborative exhibition showing contemporary art by Chinese and Irish artists , showing in Enjoy Museum, 798 , 2018.4.12

Very honoured to have Irish Ambassador Eoin O’ Leary visit Chinese New Year exhibition “Red & Fruit”

Irish Ambassador Eoin O'Leary with subway paintings at Raycom Centre exhibition Feb 2018

Stay updated with Niamh’s work and her trips around Beijing

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Stay updated with Niamh’s work and her culture vulture trips around Beijing

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