Guo Fengyi: To See from a Distance

Source: Long March Space (1/15/20)
Guo Fengyi: To See from a Distance
The Drawing Center, New York
February 20, 2020–May 10, 2020

Guo Fengyi, Diagram of Primordial Positioning of the 64 Hexagrams, 1989. Colored ink on glazed printing paper, 39 x 54 cm

Guo Fengyi: To See from a Distance, will be the first major institutional exhibition of the work of Guo Fengyi (1942–2010, Xi’an, China) in the United States. The exhibition will feature works from all periods of her compact yet fruitful career, including drawings executed on the backs of book and calendar pages and on cloth, as well as small- and large-scale drawings on rice paper scrolls. The exhibition will also feature sketchbooks, notebooks, and archival materials that provide context for a drawing vocabulary that osscilates between the whimsical, the systematic, and the wildly imaginative. Occupying two floors of The Drawing Center—the Drawing Room and The Lab—the exhibition will present the expanse of a career that was highly focused but at the same time inclusive of a variety of interests and obsessions, including Chinese medicine, ancient Chinese history, and a deeply personal spirituality.

Organized by Rosario Güiraldes, Assistant Curator, and Laura Hoptman, Executive Director.

About the Drawing Center

Founded in 1977, by curator Martha Beck (1938–2014), The Drawing Center is a museum in Manhattan’s SoHo district that explores the medium of drawing as primary, dynamic, and relevant to contemporary culture, the future of art, and creative thought. Its activities are both multidisciplinary and broadly historical, and include exhibitions, public programs, publications, and a unique artist-run exhibition program aimed at the contemporary artists’ community.

Guo Fengyi, Diagram of the Human Nervous System, 1989 Colored ink on glazed printing paper, 78 x 54 cm

Guo Fengyi, Lugu Lake on 5th June, 2020 Ink on ricepaper mounted on cloth, 268 x 67.5 cm

Guo Fengyi is a self-trained female artist whose artistic practice articulates a particular journey of spiritual and metaphysical significance, belonging to an older generation whose embrace of Chinese folk culture imparts a unique knowledge of history, myth and mystery. Her works on paper are composed of finely controlled brushwork that blend and weave into a composition of lustrous images; suggestions of both human figure and otherworldly beings.

Guo Fengyi began practicing Qigong (a traditional Chinese health maintenance practice that cultivates the qi energy within the body) as a way to alleviate illness. Accompanying her ever-deepening study into the philosophies of mysticism, she began having powerful visions that she felt compelled to give form to through drawing, as a way to adjust the balance between her body and her spiritual world. The subject matter of her works, as well as the concepts and physical structures she uses, comes from traditional Chinese systems of thought; cosmology, acupuncture energy maps, divination, sage kings, geomancy and dynastic grave sites—all of which have become dispensable in a modernizing China. Through her works, Guo Fengyi acts as a convergence point of traditional and contemporary thought, preserving cultural memories hidden deep within Chinese society. Through the physical act of drawing, Guo Fengyi charges the events of today’s world with a profound significance, both as an act of creativity as well as an act of everyday life.

Guo Fengyi’s first foray into the contemporary art world was her participation in the 2002 Long March Project—A Walking Visual Display, in which she produced site specific works at Lugu Lake, Yunnan Province, China, and collaborated with American artist Judy Chicago.

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