Sinofemcentrism and its manifestations in art by Yu Hong, Cui Xiuwen, and Xiang Jing
In response to the relative absence of contemporary Chinese women artists and their art in art historical discourses and in the art world, this study investigates the marginalization and symbolic annihilation of contemporary women artists and their art and the research conundrum on this neglected subject. This research suggests a new theoretical framework, sinofemcentrism, to facilitate the discussion and investigation of contemporary Chinese art by women, and examines sinofemcentrism’s manifestations in art by three contemporary Chinese female artists: Yu Hong, Cui Xiuwen, and Xiang Jing. Sinofemcentrism is designated to the possibilities of a Chinese-female-centered worldview emerged from a strong sense of agency, self-awareness, and consciousness concerning the world about Chinese women’s race, sex, and artistic ability. All three artists, though their mediums vary, are keen to depict female subjectivity through figurative representation. As a painter, Yu Hong is interested in the perceived minutiae of women’s lives against the grand narrative of Chinese history. Yu Hong’s female subjectivity centers on Chinese women and renders them individual players of the world, who are directly influenced by the history of China and the world. Cui Xiuwen (1967-2018) was a mixed media artist. Interested in Chinese women’s psyche and the social, cultural, and economical implications that contributed to the systemic exploitation of women, Cui Xiuwen’s figurative works since her 2000 video work Lady’s Room continued to show her concern about the sexual violence Chinese women and children endured, but her subjects were rendered gradually more passive, frail, and stationary. Keen to explore the complex internality of human nature, Xiang Jing’s sculptural depiction of the female body embraced signs of age, the diversity of body types, a wide range of emotions, and female intimacy, friendship, and solidarity. This thesis concludes that art by Yu Hong, Cui Xiuwen, and Xiang Jing reflects what I have chosen to call their sinofemcentric stance which is unique to their Chinese-female-centered worldview and personal and professional experience. It is argued that Sinofemcentrism is a suitable theoretical framework to facilitate art historical discourses on the works of Chinese women artists from China, the greater Sinophone areas, and in diaspora.