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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Chengyao He

Beijing,
China

Chengyao He was born in Sichuan, China and lives in Beijing. She graduated from the Sichuan Fine Art University in 1989. Her solo shows include the Live Arts He Chengyao, One World Art Center, Beijing; He Chengyao’s Live Art Photographs Exhibition, Soobin Art Gallery, Singapore; and Juhua Space, Shanghai, China.

More recent work has appeared in the following: Busan Biennale, Korea; Asian Women’s Art, Tokyo Joshibi University’s Art Museum, Japan; The New Vision of Chinese Photography, Taibei Modern Art Museum, Taiwan; Cruel\Loving Bodies, Duolun Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai; 798 Space, Beijing, Art Center Hongkong, China; 14th Rencontre Internationale Art Performance Quebec; LE LIEU Centre Art Action, Quebec City; and Clark Gallery Montreal, Canada. She was included in a panel discussion and exhibition of Asian-Pacific Women Artists at Taipei Artist Village, Taiwan. The China Live Art exhibition toured to eight art centers in Britain. Reshaping Contemporary China Art toured to the Millennium Art Museum, Beijing, China and The University at Buffalo Art Galleries, New York, USA. Other group shows include the Southeast Asia Performance Art Symposium and 7th Asiatopia Performance Art Festival, Queens Gallery, Tanland. Her performance art documentations from China include SUMU Titanik Gallery, Finland; International Exhibitionist, Curzon Soho Cinema, London, UK; and the ”Vital”-International Chinese Live Art Festival, Chinese Arts Centre, Manchester, UK.

Chengyao He was a featured artist in Global Feminisms at the Brooklyn Museum, curated by Maura Reilly and Linda Nochlin.

Feminist Artist Statement

Feminism is a remote topic in my country where I live. China is always a male-dominated world, although the Chinese Communist Party had tried to abolish the old male-dominated system so that every one had a right to obtain an occupation. We had already shortened the discrimination between male and female and established the “equal rights” constitution between female/male. But in fact, the Equality is not based on the rights from individual liberation and fair opportunity. There is still existing sexual unfairness, discrimination in social status as well as between female and male. Most people still conform to the traditional sexual division of labor. Individual value and rights of female are still ignored.

I would like to express my thanks to the Brooklyn Museum and the Curators of Global Feminisms for bringing me this opportunity which drives me to perceive and reflect on the issue of feminism consciously. I also wish that I can speak about the feminism topic with my own voice through taking part in such kind of exhibition and making more and more artworks. Women own are able of holding of the world.

<p>Mama and Me</p>

Mama and Me

“Mama and Me” was created in the summer of 2001. After “Opening the Great Wall,” I returned to my hometown to see my mother. When I arrived, she sat quietly on a stool at one side of the courtyard, half naked and playing with a rotten apple. I stood behind her and also took off my top. That was the first time my mother and I ever had our picture taken together. The photo allowed me to squarely face my family’s history of insanity that I had carefully hidden and avoided for so long, to reaffirm the family line that connects me and my mother, and to partially satisfy a yearning of more than thirty years to support, touch, and embrace her.

Mama and Me

“Mama and Me” was created in the summer of 2001. After “Opening the Great Wall,” I returned to my hometown to see my mother. When I arrived, she sat quietly on a stool at one side of the courtyard, half naked and playing with a rotten apple. I stood behind her and also took off my top. That was the first time my mother and I ever had our picture taken together. The photo allowed me to squarely face my family’s history of insanity that I had carefully hidden and avoided for so long, to reaffirm the family line that connects me and my mother, and to partially satisfy a yearning of more than thirty years to support, touch, and embrace her.

The Great Wall-Magnolia-Mama and Me

The photos in the autobiographical series (“Opens the Great Wall,” “Mother And I,” “Great Wall Magnolia - Mother And I,” “99 Needles”) clearly share the theme of treatment and subsequent redemption. The use of and so on the works, use the change foot color under the present background, repeats in the mind in the childhood time mother impression, utilizes by the behavior art way practice psychologist in the mental healing spirit leads releases the concept, and inquires into the body in the past and in the present field territory and the time significance.

Illusion

“Illusion” is a performance art piece I did in February 2002 at the Beijing Art Archives and Warehouse. The work was executed in this fashion: I invited a male audience member at the site to hold a mirror and use it to refract sunlight onto the background of a gray brick wall. I ran in front of the wall and chased the illusive patch of sun. The person grasping the mirror casually controlled all of my running, jumping, hiding, and movements of evasion. The performance lasted approximately ten minutes. After several times, each time the audience increased and after the role exchange, the audience became increasingly aware of the manipulator’s consciousness. Our body participates in the specific field or territory, experiencing the correct and the desired connection. Moreover, attempts with such behavior also concerns the audience by traditional forms in the role to transform primarily passive modes, like writing, to the role of the creation of work .

99 Needles

When I was a child, my grandmother tried all sorts of folk cures and superstitious methods to treat my mother’s mental illness.She hired spirit doctors and forced my mother to swallow Chinese and Western medicine.She even attracted the attention of several People’s Liberation Army uncles from a nearby military factory. To treat my mother’s illness, they held my mother down on a wooden door used as a table, while one of them stuck acupuncture needles into her. My mother lay on the door screaming and struggling. “99 Needles” is dedicated to my mother, who endured so much shameful wearing down, and as atonement because I stood as eyewitness but could not help.

Testimony

“Testimony” consists of three photographs. The first uses the image of my mother from “Mama and Me,” in which she curiously crooks her head to look up at me standing half nude behind her. In the second photograph, I sit and my son stands behind me. In the third photograph, my son sits with an empty background behind him. With this piece, I want to express respect and care for weak and marginalized people whose lives continue on regardless. They are one part of history, a testimony to history.

On the Way

Public Broadcast Exercises

The content of this work includes warm up—the movements—getting on all fours, moving the waist, squats, kicks, jumps, and relaxation. Besides providing to the audience with a scene of a distorted body as a result of the plastic adhesive plaster wrapped around it like a package, the body also distorts when it struggles. Diligently performing calisthenics to radio music, on all four limbs, emits a hissing sound as a result of the rubber adhesion. The work tries hard to conjure the experience of a collective memory, in part. This work was done for the first time in 2002, when I participated in seventh session of NIPAF Asia behavior art festival period in Japan. Considered “Calisthenics to Radio Music” the linguistic environment in mainland China area, in 2004 is very fond of the body, when Shanghai’s Dolonnur modern art museum participation the display, this work has implemented the second scene behavior.

Contact

310 Room, 116 Building, Huajiadixili, Chaoyang District,
Beijing,
China

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