Gendered Bodies: Toward a Women's Visual Art in Contemporary China

Hardback: $50.00
ISBN-13: 9780824840037
Published: October 2015

Additional Information

280 pages | 114 color and 2 black & white illustrations
  • About the Book
  • Gendered Bodies introduces readers to women's visual art in contemporary China by examining how the visual process of gendering reshapes understandings of historiography, sexuality, pain, and space. When artists take the body as the subject of female experience and the medium of aesthetic experiment, they reveal a wealth of noncanonical approaches to art. The insertion of women's narratives into Chinese art history rewrites a historiography that has denied legitimacy to the woman artist. The gendering of sexuality reveals that the female body incites pleasure in women themselves, reversing the dynamic from woman as desired object to woman as desiring subject. The gendering of pain demonstrates that for those haunted by the sociopolitical past, the body can articulate traumatic memories and psychological torment. The gendering of space transforms the female body into an emblem of landscape devastation, remaps ruin aesthetics, and extends the politics of gender identity into cyberspace and virtual reality.

    The work presents a critical review of women's art in contemporary China in relation to art traditions, classical and contemporary. Inscribing the female body into art generates not only visual experimentation, but also interaction between local art/cultural production and global perception. While artists may seek inspiration and exhibition space abroad, they often reject the (Western) label “feminist artist.” An extensive analysis of artworks and artists—both well- and little-known—provides readers with discursively persuasive and visually provocative evidence. Gendered Bodies follows an interdisciplinary approach that general readers as well as scholars will find inspired and inspiring.

  • About the Author(s)
    • Shuqin Cui, Author

      Shuqin Cui is professor of Asian studies and cinema studies at Bowdoin College.
  • Reviews and Endorsements
    • In her book Gendered Bodies: Toward a Women's Visual Art in Contemporary China, Shuqin Cui analyzes the development and presence of women artists in China. . . . Cui presents the often complex art work in an understandable way with astute analysis regarding the choices that face women in more than just the contemporary art world: choosing between the constructs invented by society or choosing professional ambition. The artists in Cui's study demonstrate that the concerns of women artists transcend body and sexual differences while embracing the changes of a political and physical landscape.
      —Art Libraries Society of North America Newsletter
    • Cui's choice of individual works is appropriate to the specific aspect of the subject being examined, and her analyses of the works are clear. Including a thorough bibliography and 94 color reproductions, the book treats an important topic.
    • Gendered Bodies is a groundbreaking work, a definitive study of contemporary Chinese women’s art written in any language. It is filled with critical insight, abundant details, and an intimate knowledge of the current art scene. The book is a must-read for anyone who hopes to understand art and women’s aspirations in contemporary China.
      Sheldon Lu, University of California, Davis
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