Be an appreciator right now

崔岫聞 Cui Xiuwen|独特的女性观点 The Unique Feminine Viewpoint

“At the end of the day, I think about things from the perspective of human nature.”


—Cui Xiuwen 崔岫聞

About artist


Cui Xiuwen, born in Harbin, earned degrees from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 1996 and the Northeast Normal University’s Fine Arts Department in 1990, respectively.


Her accomplishments have been widely regarded and profoundly acknowledged by worldwide contemporary art authorities as one of the great female representatives of Chinese contemporary art. She is the first Chinese artist whose works have been shown at the Tate Gallery in the UK, and the Centre Pompidou in France has acquired a collection of her emblematic video artworks. The“2008 Xiao Shufang Art Fund Outstanding Female Artist Award” was given by the Wu Zuoren International Art Foundation to a female artist in China.

她的成就得到了世界当代艺术权威的广泛认可和深刻认可,是中国当代艺术的伟大女性代表之一。她是第一位在英国泰特美术馆展出作品的中国艺术家,法国蓬皮杜艺术中心收藏了她标志性的影像作品。 “2008萧淑芳艺术基金杰出女艺术家奖”吴作人国际艺术基金会授予中国一位女艺术家。

Representative work: “Lady’s”


Although it is a contentious piece of art, it depicts the experience of women in contemporary society. Cui Xiuwen received an invitation to the most exclusive nightclub in Beijing in 2000 from a collector. She was taken into an illusion upon entering the space and mistakenly made her way to the toilet. People in the restroom organized the make-up or interacted with one another. Some people continued to discuss their money, and a sense of competitiveness could be seen in their speech. The constant giggling and yelling between them indicated that these girls were engaged in illegal sex trafficking.


Cui Xiuwen referred to the situation of women in the restroom as“preparing for combat.” The restroom is a public space that blends privacy and desire, and what happens there may completely illustrate women’s sense of social identity and social experience. This aroused Cui Xiuwen’s great curiosity.


Taking these investigative yet invasive photos, the artist boldly morphs their intensity and narrative through various digital mediums such as video and digital photo collages.


Rather than a single interpretation, her work can express several layers of meaning. However, these are all drawn from the substance of the work and are not provided by the author on the work.


The work “Sanjie” is a reference and re-conception of Leonardo da Vinci’s iconic painting “The Last Supper.” She substituted uniformed girls for the original figures, the Twelve Apostles.


Cui Xiuwen’s works retain the original characters’ attitudes that are still present. This character’s gender transformation prompts several ideas. The original book of the Bible, which has always been a patriarchal culture, tells the biblical tale from the viewpoint of the male characters. Few female characters appear in the Bible, and when Cui Xiuwen changed these characters’ roles, she explored whether women’s roles and status in society have changed through time. In “Sanjie”, whether the helpless expression on the girl’s face is reflected, women still feel like they have no choices and are helpless in modern society.


In addition to using her scathing and darkly comic artistic skills to transform biblical tales into modern works of art, Cui Xiuwen also debunked the fallacy of her own subjective understanding in her philosophical studies.


“One Day in 2004” series


The model for the piece is still the small girl from “Sanjie”, a youngster costumed as a schoolgirl walking down a solitary street in the Forbidden City with a clear sky in a shot from her 2004 series “One Day in 2004.”

作品依旧以《三界》中的小女孩为模特。在她 2004 年的系列“2004 年的一天”的镜头中,一位扮成女学生的年轻人走在紫禁城的一条孤独的街道上,天空晴朗。

Cui Xiuwen employs several traditional cultural allusions in this piece as well. The architecture, for example, is evocative of old Chinese dynasties and patriarchal norms; the bright sky is prevalent in Western art but uncommon in Chinese art.


She also used a little girl who is the protagonist and who is encircled by strong walls. Perhaps the message portrayed is that women in this culture are constantly weak and defenseless. The girl in this series of paintings likewise lacks a grin and even has some injuries on her body, which notably demonstrates the frail and delicate aspect of women.


With several iconic things included in the works, this collection of works is sarcastic and replete with distinct memories of the 1970s. Girls’ clothing, for instance, served as a fashion statement during the period, and the palace symbolized a strong China. The collection combines aesthetically pleasant images with figurative logos that obscure possible issues.


In her view, female artists are a social label, but art has nothing to do with gender.


In Chinese society, women do often have a lesser standing, particularly in a traditional culture where they typically have roles like wives, concubines, or slaves. Even though women make up the majority of Cui Xiuwen’s characters, she frequently emphasizes that social status is a problem that affects everyone. This not only shows gender inequity but also calls into question the social order.


Cui Xiuwen still hopes that via her works, women would be motivated to pursue their own independence and personal growth. In this situation, the public may examine and comprehend a greater range of opinions from diverse angles thanks to the educational benefits of art.


*all images and artworks belong to the artist & his representing galleries respectively


Translation  Alice Yip


本篇文章来源于微信公众号: SHMADNESS


Be among the privileged few with our offers:

  • Exclusive preview and pre-order of limited edition collections (subject to availability)
  • Priority access to our offline exhibitions worldwide
  • Personalized curation assistance from our curators