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The preparation of the show “Garden of Dreams” has taken more than a year, and it presents a total of 19 works, one of the largest is called “Garden of Dreams”, and this exhibition also adopts this name. This work depicts a few characters, events and landscapes of ancient Chinese fables in a traditional Chinese garden. The use of painting connects the stories, and also includes news over recent years, integrating the ancient and contemporary, real and absurd things in a seemingly dilapidated but vibrant garden, placing a lot of contradictions within a space. The “Parallel World” has something to do with it. It’s a response to the events happening every day, which are cluttered and unrelated, but these events and the ancient fables actually influence each person, the society, and the era, so I want to put these diverse, disordered, chaotic elements together, which is my response or feeling of this real society.

– An excerpt from the interview by CAFA ART INFO “Yu Hong: Visiting a Garden, Walking from a Dream with a Start – The Realistic Painting that Transcends the ‘Real’”

“Golden Horizon” displayed the works before 2011, mainly using the application of gold foil, which has a certain connection with the ancient traditional Chinese painting and religious painting. Part of the series of works was placed on the ceiling in order to maintain a certain distance from the audience to the paintings. This method is actually to reproduce an atmosphere, while many of the traditional religious paintings are not a single work, but work together with the surrounding environment to constitute a whole atmosphere, I hope to use the painting to reproduce previous expressions, so that the audience is in the atmosphere.

– An excerpt from “On My Solo Exhibition ‘Wondering Clouds’ – Interview with Yu Hong”

The chronological narrative method of “Witness to Growth” is in sharp contrast to the image collage of a time-lapse narrative style which has been popular for many years. The latter style uses modern packaging to showcase the trend of elegant art. “Growth” uses popular language to show the trend when elegant artsteps down from an high-profile.

– An excerpt from “Wei Qimei: A Heavy Interpretation – On Yu Hong’s ‘Witness to Growth’”

The generation of Yu Hong has a unique experience, their growth and national growth is in parallel. At that time, China had gradually walked away from isolation, and so did Yu Hong, who began to love life; during which the disco craze entered mainland China, which indicated that Chinese dramatic reform was dawning. This group of works showcased to the audience, the weight of contemporary Chinese history, and the purest and simplest individual state exist side by side. Yu Hong is not a hero, but an ordinary person. Her quiet life is inparallel with the constant political, economic and cultural movements in China.

– An excerpt from “Nicole Hess: The Narration and Interpretation of Yu Hong’s Works” (originally published in the “Witness to Growth”)

The combination of her personal photos, self-growth and the typical features of painting, take the self-growth and spiritual evolution of the generation that were born in the 1960s as the title, to discover how to establish the narrative of “the self and about the self” in the issues about gender, women’s liberation, etc., which is defined by the national ideology.

– An excerpt from “Guo Xiaoyan: In and Out of Time, as Well as Her Stance – On Yu Hong’s Works”

Her theme has been hovering in the small world that is made up of particulars like the book “In Search of Lost Time”, together with her pure Realistic method from the Soviet Union, every painting dimly reveals a narrative atmosphere immersed in the meditation.

– An excerpt from “Shu Kewen: Yu Hong’s Narrative – Dialogue with the Female Painter Yu Hong”

Yu Hong both witnessed the contemporary history of China, and also witnessed the life of her and her daughter as an individual. The stories of her and China are placed together one by one, to establish mutual relations not only in the visualand also in theory. It is through these works that a tangle on the collective and individual memories are placed together. This is not a stable structure, but a rather variable structure that maintains a long-term mobility.

– An excerpt from “Yu Hong’s ‘Witness to Growth’: Historical Limitation and the Individual Accidental” originally published in “Fine Arts” magazine in September 2003

When we look back at the various restless scenes in the photos like sitting in a roller coaster, we will immediately be relieved because of the images on the right of the painting, as if everything has returned to the ordinary, and it is the ordinary that urges our life to continue to move forward and get ahead.

– An excerpt from “Jiang Deyi: Yu Hong’s Paintings”

About the artist

Yu Hong was born in 1966 in Xi’an, China. In the 1980s she studied oil painting at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing and graduated with a post-graduate degree from the Department of Oil Painting, CAFA in 1996. Since 1988 she has been a teacher in Department of Oil Painting, CAFA. At the beginning, Yu Hong received training in realist painting, though over time she has developed to her own individual visual language. The core subject of Yu Hong’s paintings has always been human nature, and how human beings grow and exist in this society, in this world. Those figures, painted by her brush express the feelings and self-analysis of people thrown into the reality of society.

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2016 Garden of Dreams, CAFA Art Museum, Beijing, China

2015 Concurrent Realms, Suzhou Museum, Suzhou, China

2013 Wondering Clouds, Long March Space, Beijing, China

2011 Golden Horizon, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, China

2010 Golden Sky, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China

2010 In and Out of Time, Opposite House, Beijing, China

2009 In and Out of Time – Yu Hong, Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China

2007 Yu Hong: Witness to Growth, Eslite Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan

2007 What Do You See?, Eslite Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan

2006 Yu Hong, Loft Gallery, Paris, France

2003 A Woman’s Life: The Art of Yu Hong, Halsey Gallery, College of Charleston, USA

2003 A Woman’s Life: The Art of Yu Hong, Goedhuis Contemporary, New York, USA

2003 Yu Hong: Witness to Growth, Museum of Hubei Institute of Fine Arts, Wuhan, China

2002 Yu Hong: Witness to Growth, The East Modern Art Center, Beijing, China

2002 Yu Hong: Witness to Growth, He Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen, China

1990 Yu Hong’s Painting, Gallery of Central Academy of Fine Art, Beijing, China

Selected Group Exhibitions 

2016 Shanshui Within, Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai, China

2016 The River Flows – Group Exhibition of Chinese and Russian Oil Paintings, Russian Academy of Fine Arts and the Repin Institute, St.Petersburg, Russia

2016 Xiaowei Hutong Paper Works Special Exhibition, National Agriculture Exhibition Center, Beijing, China

2016 ECHO OF CIVILIZATION: Crossing Dunhuang, Beijing Working People’s Culture Palace, Beijing, China

2015 CHINA 8, Kunsthalle Recklinghausen, Recklinghausen, Germany

2015 Tradition and Innovation: The Human Figure in Contemporary Chinese Art, Chazen Museum of Art, Madison, U.S.A.

2015 Chinese Freehand Art – Invitational Exhibition of the National Art Museum of China, National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China

2015 Shanghai Urban Space Art Season, Westbund Art Center, Shanghai, China

2015 The Spirit of Chineseness: The Fourth Chinese Oil Painting Exhibition, Chinese Academy of Oil Painting, Beijing, China

2014 Resonance, National Gallery, Jakarta, Indonesia China

2014 Arte Brasil, Sao Paulo, Brazil

2014 Re-View – Opening Exhibition of Long Museum West Bund, Long Museum, Shanghai, China

2013 Portrait of the Times – 30 Years of Chinese Contemporary Art, Power Station of Art, Shanghai, China

2013 From Beijing – Works by the Faculty of China Central Academy of Fine Arts, New York Academy of Art, New York, U.S.A.

2012 Face, Mingsheng Art Museum, Shanghai, Beijing, China

2012 In Time – 2012 Chinese Oil Painting Biennale, National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China

2011 Looking Back on 60 Years, Museum of Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts, Tianjin, China

2011 A New Horizon: Contemporary Chinese Art, National Museum of Australia, Sydney, Australia

2011 Collecting History: China New Art, Chengdu MOCA, Sichuan, China 2010 Oil Painting and Contemporary Society – Chinese Oil Painting Exhibition, National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China

2010 Fresh Ink: Ten Takes on Chinese Tradition, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Gund Gallery, Boston, U.S.A.

2010 Trans-Realism: Chinese Contemporary Art Exhibition, Christie’s, New York, U.S.A.

2010 China International Gallery Exposition (CIGE), International Exhibition Center, Beijing, China

2010 ZAOXING – Artwork from the Faculty of the Central Academy of Fine Art, CAFA Art Museum, Beijing, China

2010 30 Years of Chinese Contemporary Art – Painting (1979-2009), Minsheng Museum of Art, Shanghai, China

2010 Shanghai Bund Origin Project, Former British Consulate, Shanghai, China

2010 Swatch-Switzerland in My Eyes, Swiss Pavilion, Shanghai World Expo, Shanghai, China

2010 Reshaping History: China Art 2000-2009, National Convention Center; Today Art Museum; Arario Gallery, Beijing, China

2010 Self Image: Woman Art in China, 1920-2010, CAFA Art Museum, Beijing, China

2009 Speak. Describe: 2009 Cross-Strait Contemporary Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Taipei, Taiwan and National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China

2009 Art in Use, Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong, China

2009 Europalia International Arts Festival: Attitudes – Female Contemporary Art from China, Brussels, Belgium

2008 Deep Breathing: Contemporary Chinese Women’s Art, Suhe Art Center, Shanghai, China

2008 Half Life of a Dream: Contemporary Chinese Art from the Logan Collection, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, USA

2008 Face and Faces, Galerie Dolores de Sierra, Madrid, Spain

2007 Net: Reimagining Space, Time and Culture, Chambers Fine Art, Beijing, China

2007 Black White Grey: A Conscious Culture Stance, Today Art Museum, Beijing, China

2007 Asia City Internet, Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, Korea

2007 Made in China, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen, Denmark; Jerusalem, Israel

2007 Energy and Character, National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China

2007 Awakening From a Ten-Year Long Sleep, 1997-2007, HJY Art Center, Beijing, China

2006 Another Look, Long March Space, Beijing, China

2006 Long March Capital, Long March Space, Beijing, China

2006 In the View, Srinakharinwirot University, Bangkok, Thailand

2006 Woman in a Society of Dual-Sexuality, Tang Contemporary Art, Bangkok, Thailand

2006 Energy and Character, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, China

2006 Art in Motion, Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai, China

2006 The Grand Promenade, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece

2006 Western Eye – Early Contemporary Chinese Painting, Beijing, China

2006 The Blossoming of Realism: The Oil Painting of Mainland China since 1978, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taiwan

2005 History of River – The Chinese Oil Painting Exhibition in New Era, National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China

2005 The 2nd Beijing Biennial Art Exhibition, National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China

2005 The Wall – Reshaping Contemporary Chinese Art, Millennium Art Museum, Beijing, China

2005 Contemporary Chinese Art, Tamayo Art Museum, Mexico

2005 Sharjah Biennial 7, Sharjah, UAE

2005 Conceptual Art – Exhibit of Contemporary Painting from China, Macau, China

2005 Expressing, The Heart of Art Space, Luoyang, Henan, China

2005 Loft of Language – 8 Female Artists in China, 4/3 Gallery, Beijing, China

2004 Dreaming of the Dragon’s Nation – Contemporary Art Exhibition from China, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland

2004 Techniques of the Visible – The 5th Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, China

2004 Regeneration: Contemporary Chinese Art from China and the US, Samek Art Gallery, Bucknell University, U.S.A.

2004 Me! Me! Me!, Courtyard Gallery, Beijing, China

2003 First Beijing Biennial Art Exhibition, National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China

2003 The 3rd Exhibition of Chinese Oil Painting, National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China

2003 An Opening Era, National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China

2002 Guangzhou Triennial: A Decade of Experimental Chinese Art (1990-2000), Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China

2002 Beijing – Paris, Pierre Cardin Art Center, Paris, France

2002 East + West – Chinese Contemporary Art, Austria

2002 Contemporary Chinese Art, Goedhuis Gallery, New York, U.S.A.

2002 Golden Harvest: Chinese Contemporary Art, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Croatia

2002 Chinese Contemporary Art, Museu de Arte Brasileira, Sao Paulo, Brazil

2001 Living in Time – Contemporary Artist from China, Hamburger Bahnhof, Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin, Germany

2001 China Art Now, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore

2001 Towards a New Image 1981-2001 20 Years of Contemporary Chinese Painting, National Art Museum of China, Beijing; Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai; Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou; Chengdu Museum of Contemporary Art, Sichuan, China

2001 Chengdu Biennial, Chengdu Modern Art Museum, Sichuan, China

2000 Nature: The Third Exhibition of the World of Woman Artists, Beijing International Art Center, Beijing, China

2000 Exhibition of Paper Work, CAFA Art Museum, Beijing, China

2000 Time of Reviving – Exhibition of Contemporary Chinese Art in 2000, Upriver Art Museum, Chengdu, China

2000 Exhibition of China Oil Painting in the 20th Century, National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China

1999 Transience – Chinese Experimental Art at the End of the Twentieth Century, The David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art, Chicago, U.S.A.

1999 1999 China Art, Limn Gallery, San Francisco, U.S.A.

1999 Exhibition of the Upriver Art Museum Collection, He Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen, China

1999 Exhibition of Dong Yu Art Museum Collection, Dong Yu Art Museum, Shenyang, China

1998 Exhibition of the Upriver Art Museum Collection, Upriver Art Museum, Chengdu, China

1998 Century Woman, National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China

1997 The 47th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy

1997 The Portrait of Chinese Oil Painting in the Last 100 Years, National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China

1997 The Exhibition of Contemporary Women Artists from China, Artemisia Gallery, Chicago, U.S.A.

1997 Asian Art Exhibition, Dhaka, Bangladesh

1996 The First Exhibition of the Association of Chinese Oil Painting, National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China

1996 The Power of the Line – the Second Drawings from Contemporary Artists from Home and Abroad, Taiwan, China

1995 The Second Exhibition of the World of Woman Artists, Beijing International Art Center, Beijing, China

1995 The Power of the Line – Drawings from Contemporary Artists from Home and Abroad, Hong Kong, China

1994 Transformation, Mark Tancy Studio, New York, U.S.A.

1994 Between East and West: Transformation of Chinese Art in the Last 20th Century, The Discover Museum, Connecticut, U.S.A.

1994 Yu Hong & Liu Xiaodong’s Works, OIPA East Village, New York, USA

1993 The 45th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy

1993 Chinese Avant-garde, Haus Der Kulturen Der Welt, Berlin, Germany; Kunsthal Rotterdam, Netherlands; The Museum of Modern Art, UK

1993 Contemporary Chinese Painting, The Z Gallery, New York, U.S.A.

1993 Red Star Over China, Keen Gallery, New York, USA

1991 Century – China, National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China

1991 The New Generation Art Exhibition, China History Museum, Beijing, China

1991 China Annual Oil Painting Exhibition, China History Museum, Beijing, China

1990 The World of Woman Artists, CAFA Art Museum, Beijing, China

1989 Monte Carlo International Art Show, Monte Carlo, Monaco

1989 The 7th National Art Exhibition, Nanjing, China

1989 Exhibition of Chinese Woman Artists, Macao, China

1989 Exhibition of Chinese Woman Artists, Touring Exhibition, Japan

1988 The Sketch Exhibition, National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China

1988 Nude Painting Exhibition, National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China

1986 The First Oil Painting Exhibition of China, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, China

Public Collections 

2011 Chengdu Museum of Contemporary Art, Chengdu, China

2010 Denver Art Museum, Denver, U.S.A.

2005 Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China

2001 Singapore Art Museum, Singapore

1999 Shanghai Art Museum, China

1998 Dong Yu Art Museum, China

1997 Upriver Art Museum, China

1995 National Art Museum of China, China

1994 Ludwig Museum, Germany

Courtesy of the artist, translated by Chen Peihua and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO

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