Yu Hong (b. 1966, Xi'an) studied oil painting at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, China, during the 1980s. It is here that she continues to teach her painterly skills, initially grounded in the techniques of Social Realist painting (which was common in art academies in China at that time), but has since developed into her own recognized visual language anchored in the depiction of the human figure.
Yu Hong centers her practice on her experience as a woman, taking inspiration from both her own life and the lives of others around her. The world that she creates through her art encapsulates a sense of time and memory that is intermingled in the delicate, often domestic scenes that she portrays, resulting in large-scale works that are personal and emotionally reflective. Working on canvas, silk or resin, with oil, pastel or fabric paint, Yu Hong frequently uses photography as a starting point for her work, at times incorporating this medium into the final piece. Interested in how our recollection of the past is enhanced or diminished through the camera lens, Yu Hong places the photographed subject in direct relationship with its own painterly image and thus examines the power of subjectivity in memory.
Influenced by the social, cultural and political changes taking place around her in China, Yu Hong seeks to portray a realistic representation of the everyday experiences which challenge women in China today, exploring how they endure the fragile relationship between tradition, career, family life and social expectations.
Yu Hong’s work has been shown extensively in China and abroad, including ‘Golden Sky’, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, ‘In and Out of Time – Yu Hong’, Guangdong Museum of Art; ‘Half Life of a Dream: Contemporary Chinese Art from the Logan Collection’, SFMOMA, San Francisco, USA, 2008; 5th Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai Art Museum, China, 2004; Transience — Chinese Experimental Art at the End of the Twentieth Century’, The David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art, Chicago, USA, 1999; 47th Venice Biennale, 1997 and the 45th Venice Biennale, 1993 in Venice, Italy, with participation in major museum including National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China; National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece and Tomayo Art Museum, Mexico City, Mexico.