Foto: Luo Yang, Pipi, 2015


14. May

17. October

11.00 - 16.00

China is changing rapidly. The exhibition project “STEPPING OUT! Female identities in Chinese contemporary art” presents artists who document, investigate and challenge expectations, and who define paradoxes and dreams from a female perspective. 

Since the beginning of China’s economic boom in the late 1980s, contemporary Chinese art has played an important international role. Despite the many major exhibitions of contemporary Chinese art in the West, thus far no one has focused specifically on female artists. The exhibition “STEPPING OUT” seeks to counteract this imbalance. 

With the title “STEPPING OUT!” the exhibition aims to show that contemporary female artists in China are boldly making their mark in an otherwise male-dominated art community. They are taking the initiative and claiming a visible place within the art world through their use of a variety of genres, courageous openness and, not least, high artistic quality.   

A project of discovery

This is the first comprehensive museum exhibition ever mounted that presents a broad spectrum of contemporary Chinese women’s art. With over 100 works by around 30 selected artists born between 1960 and 1995, the exhibition provides broad insight into a relatively unknown aspect of the Chinese artistic community. The exhibition includes performance, video, photography, sculpture, ink drawings and oil paintings, offering a surprisingly rich range of themes, approaches and perspectives.

The exhibition is meant to give the public a representative and diversified picture of the outstanding women who are part of the artistic development of a country that is playing an increasingly vital role in the international sphere. 

A changing China

China is changing rapidly. The exhibition highlights a number of different aspects of this intensive process as seen from a variety of angles. Focus is placed on intriguing points of view that illuminate elements of women’s identities during this exceptionally dynamic period in China’s history. The project presents artists who document, investigate and challenge expectations, and who define paradoxes and dreams from a female perspective.

Several generations of female artists

A few years after the death of Mao Zedong in 1976, which marked the end of the so-called cultural revolution, a pioneering group of women artists attracted attention with their creative and daring protest movement in an artistic community that was dominated by men. Among the key elements for this generation was conducting a discourse using one’s own gender and body as a means of expression. Later, in the 1990s, while China’s economy and society were evolving in leaps and bounds, focus was placed on women’s traditional roles, their historical roots and ideals, and various old and new definitions of femininity. Younger artists can use so-called avatars or alter-ego identities to construct their own worlds, while others can explore the dynamics of gender identity or address the theme of queer cultures, which continue to remain taboo in today’s China.

The exhibition will also be shown at Museum der Moderne in Salzburg, Austria. It has been supported by the Savings Bank Foundation DNB and the Innlandet county administration.