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Skinny Beautiful Woman
By Shi Wei
7 March 2015 - 11 April 2015 (Reception: 6 March 2015)
Shi Wei is known for his ambiguous oil paintings, in particular the Skinny Beautiful Women series. In the tradition of the painting of women, as pioneered by Tang dynasty master painters such as Zhang Xuan and Zhou Fang in the history of Chinese art, Shi Wei’s work holds up women as icons of beauty that reflect the prevailing aesthetic fashions of the age, and reveals the impact of contemporary social changes on the worldview of women in China.
With its reform and liberalisation, Chinese society has undergone tremendous changes in the past few decades. Instead of valorising labour as the sole worthy object of pursuit as in the past, its women are now turned towards consumption, fashion and desire. Inspired by the fashion industry and using technology,Shi Wei's paintings depict skinny women sometimes holding erotic poses and places the meaning of beauty under scrutiny. Are these women beautiful and happy, or are they suffering and paying a price for their vanity? These are just some of the questions put forth by the artist in this exhibition. Utterly contemporary and unyieldingly honest, Shi Wei conjures up distorted images containing uneasy juxtapositions and disjunctures, and serves up an uncanny reflection on the issues and costs of living in a modern, consumeristic society.
SHI WEI (China, 1965) received an M.A. from the Hubei Academy of Fine Arts in 1997, and is currently an Associate Professor at Beijing City University.