| Biography | Review | Artists Represented | Hou Wen Yi

Blood 1996, Hou Wen Yi Untitled 1996, Hou Wen Yi

Selected Exhibitions:


"Against the Tide" Chinese Women Artist Show, Bronx Museum, Bronx, N.Y.


"Pulp Fusion", Contemporary Culture and Documentary Arts, Dallas, Texas


"Worksopace Program 5 Years", The Gallery at Dieu Donne Paper Mill, New York City


"Beyond Borders: Art by Recent Immigrants", Bronx Museum, Bronx, N.Y.



"IV International Biennial of Paper Art", Leopoid-Hoesch Museum, Germany

"Dialogue in paper", Feszek Gallery, Budapest, Hungary


"Chinese Art Meets West", University Art Gallery, SDSU, San Diego, California

"Ancestors Known and Unknown", Islip Art Museum, East Islip, New York


"Selection 50", The Drewing Center, New York City


"MFA Solo Painting Show", UCSD, San Diego, California


"Fire Room", An installation at UCSD Visual Art Dept., San Diego, California


"New Images, China Avant-grade 85", Shanghai, Nanjing, P. R. China

Excerpts on Hou Wenyi from East/West- Notes on Contemporary Chinese Women Artists Living in America by Joan Lebold Cohen:

"Chairman Mao wanted us to be educated just like a man, to do the same work. We were meant to loose our individuality and our sex. It's not fair to ask a woman to do a man's job. We're not the same", says Hou Wenyi. Currently in her 10th year away from China, Ms. Hou feels that women were not treated well there. "they send old women into the fields for a full day of labor. But then, there are problems with how women are treated here as well." Ms. Hou says that it is only since she left China that she has found her feminine-self and states, "My concern is to reveal my feminine character."

Ms. Hou said that she thinks paper is an appropriately feminine medium because it is light, flexible, translucent, delicate and elegant. Her art is the paper that she creates. She was awarded a fellowship by New York's Dieu Donne- the Paper Mill to learn more paper making techniques in New York. This singular artists who creates in paper introduces various elements such as blood into the paper pulp, which she stirs in like a witch brew. Her fabricated paper is coloured with blood as others use pigments made from vegetable or minerals. The artist's selection is to provocative yet she explains: "Blood is an element we all share; it relates to life. I am not a high tech person; electricity gives me a shock. Moreover, electronic items do not change human beings for he better behaved. I prefer to connect in a more obviously human manner. I use blood like others use ink."

Asked how she came to using blood, she responded, " when I came to New York, I needed to support myself and I took a job as a newspaper reporter in Chinatown for 15 months. But I was frightened - it was dangerous. I saw people getting shot- blood on the street- real blood. I hated it and wanted to get out of it. My New York experience was really bad. I wan so shocked to see that people killed each other: front and behind, the weapon or most of the time without weapon but kill each other. I was too young to see the violence in the Cultural Revolution in China" Yet she says that she is composing with life blood to guarantee a connection with the real world.

Written by Joan Lebold Cohen

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