Lillehammer Art Museum presents "Stepping Out!" featuring a broad spectrum of contemporary Chinese women’s art


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Stepping Out! is a Chinese exhibition on history, future, traditions and modern women. It is the first major exhibition of its kind ever and it provides broad insight into a relatively unknown aspect of the Chinese artistic community. The exhibition presents more than 100 works by 26 selected artists born between 1960 and 1995 and it includes performance, video, photography, sculpture, ink drawings and oil paintings, offering a surprisingly rich range of themes, approaches and perspectives.

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A Report by NRK – Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation

"Once again, the museum in the small town in Gudbrandsdalen has managed to create an art event of international dimensions. That is impressive! This is not just an enriching and exciting exhibition, it is important. "Stepping Out!" is an absolute must in Norwegian art summer," said Art critic Mona Pahle Bjerke, NRK – Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation.

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Female perspective

China is changing rapidly. The artists in the exhibition document, investigate and challenge expectations, and they 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. 

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Make their mark

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.

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.

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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.

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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.

A unique concert performance with the Norwegian violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing in the concert hall Maihaugsalen..JPGA unique concert performance with the Norwegian violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing in the concert hall Maihaugsalen.

Music by Eldbjørg Hemsing

The exhibition opened with a unique concert performance with the Norwegian violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing in the concert hall Maihaugsalen.

Hemsing is a very popular musician in China. She played both Chinese and European music, linked to the visual arts.

One of the pieces of music was a completely new commissioned work tailored to the exhibition by composer and musician Mette Henriette.

The music from the concert performance will be an extra dimension in the exhibition at the museum. You can listen to music while you are visiting the exhibition through the audio guide Kunstporten on your mobile phone.

The Opening Speech on Stepping Out!.JPGThe Opening Speech on Stepping Out!An artist representative delivered a speech at the opening.JPGAn artist representative delivered a speech at the opening.

The exhibition will also be shown in Kunstforeningen Gl Strand in Copenhagen in Denmark and Museum der Moderne in Salzburg in Austria. It is supported by the Savings Bank Foundation DNB, Innlandet county administration, the Fritt Ord Foundation and the Bergesen Foundation.

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About the exhibition

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Main curators: Nils ohlsen, Christina penetsdorfer

Co-curators: Feng Boyi, Liu Xi

Opening: 13 May, 2022

Dates: 14 May - 16 October, 2022.

Venue: Lillehammer Art Museum

Artists: Wen Hui, Lin Tianmiao, Xiao Lu, Yin Xiuzhen, He Chengyao, Yu Hong, Xing Danwen, Cui Xiuwen, Xiang Jing, Bu Hua, Peng Wei, Tao Aimin, Chen Qiulin, Li Xinmo, Cao Fei, Sun Shaokun, Ma Qiusha, Geng Xue, Hu Yinping, Fan Xi, Luo Yang, Liu Xi, Cao Yu, Chen Zhe, Tong Wenmin, Liang Xiu

© 2022 Copyrights for the images: the artists, photographers, and legal successors.