¡°Who is Guo Fengyi?¡± Guo Fengyi (b. 1942, Xian, China) is an artist whose artistic practice articulates a particular journey of spiritual and metaphysical significance, belonging to an older generation whose embrace of Chinese folk culture imparts a unique knowledge of history, myth and mystery. Her works on paper are composed of finely controlled brushwork that blend and weave into a composition of lustrous images; suggestions of both human figure and otherworldly beings.
Guo Fengyi began practicing Qigong (a traditional Chinese health maintenance practice that cultivates the qi energy within the body) as a way to alleviate illness. Accompanying her ever-deepening study into the philosophies of mysticism, she began having powerful visions that she felt compelled to give form to through drawing. Her works, spanning different subject matter such as; cosmology, acupuncture energy maps, divination, sage kings, geomancy and dynastic grave sites ¨C all of which have become dispensable in a modernizing China ¨C go beyond the visual representation or even of imagination of a particular subject matter, rather it is through her works that Guo Fengyi acts as a convergence point of traditional and contemporary thought; herself and her subject. She draws not only to understand her subject, but also to alter the energy of her subject, achieving a hybridization in which subject and author are fused and inseparable in the process of visualization. As the artist notes herself, "Before I begin a painting, I do not know how to paint it. While I am in the process of creating a painting, I do not know what it will become. When I finish a painting, then I know. I use painting in order to know."
Since 2005, Guo Fengyi¡¯s work has received local and international acclaim, taking part in major exhibitions such as the 2005 International Biennale of Contemporary Art, Prague, the 2005 Yokohama Triennale, and the 2006 Taipei Biennale. In 2008, the Long March Space presented her work at the Frieze Art Fair, London, and just completed a solo presentation of her work as part of Art Basel, Switzerland. ¡°I Am Guo Fengyi¡± is her first solo exhibition in China after this four-year international tour of her work. How do we approach and understand her work today? What possibilities and interpretation have resulted from the international odyssey of her work this past four years? In conjunction with the physical migration that characterizes the twenty-first century, there is also a psychological migration. Both journeys encompass a self-discovery in which an engagement with the "Other" leads to the expansion of the boundaries of subjectivity. The work of Guo Fengyi is "our actuality" - offering us a drawing of what we are ceasing to be while providing a sketch of what we are becoming. This continuous departure and arrival of the subject is both a challenge and a response to the question we all ask of ourselves: ¡°Who is Guo Fengyi?¡±