Bald Girls " time lag 2014 Bonn?
A single Mother has made a sham marriage with a good friend, so that her illegitimate son can get a formal father and be officially registed by the Registration Office. This is not a literary invention or a film scenario, but a true story of 21st century China. It is the story of one of the "Bald Girls" artists participating in the exhibition "Single Moms" .??Although China is considered a "socialist " country for 65 years, the 2000 years old Confucian tradition is deeply rooted in the minds of many people. According to Confucian principles, man is standing above woman and this tradition has been the cultural consensus in China for thousands of years, even among women themselves. As in ancient Greece, men in China act as the single source of culture, they are the measure of all things. Women stand for the incomplete, the imperfect, even today .
?Even though the movement of gender equality in the late Qing dynasty and in the beginning of the Republic, especially the politically-driven communist ideology of equality, has caused better social conditions for Chinese women in the last 60 years, even compared to Western countries, these were prescribed from top to bottom and not a consequence of demands of women themselves. This has caused a distinct lack of questions about the concept of an inner transformation. On the cultural level, there is also a lack of creation of a subversive force within the gender consciousness.??Since the economic boom and the general opening to foreign influences in recent decades, the emancipation of women has given an excellent breeding ground. The situation of women, however, presents itself very differently: On one hand, there are already a lot of selfconfident, financially independent, emancipated women with higher education in the larger cities, who enjoy more freedom for self-realization in the process of economic reform - such as artists and entrepreneurs. On the other hand, and during the same time, not a few women still live in the traditional role as housewives or concubines. These women are passive, dependent, and give up their personality. This coexistence of different and complex conditions of women is a phenomenon of Chinese society that seems as strange and absurd as in a sureal theater play.??"By this yardstick alone , the Saturday opening of "Bald Girls" , a feminist art show in the 798 arts district of Beijing, was a tremendous success . Plainclothes officers rushed into the Iberia Center for Contemporary Art Shortly before the afternoon opening and Demanded the removal of two paintings by Lan Jiny , an artist based in Germany , according to the show 's organizer , Xu Juan.?Feminist art in China, a country where very few women dare say They Are feminists for fear of social ostracism , is quiet a tiny phenomenon . But , in fact , the show on Saturday did not need the censorship to have an impact . The artist's actions were dramatic enough. And what They Said What: The world 's attention 'may be transfixed by a handful of female Chinese billionaires , but the true situation of the country 's 653 million women is parlous ".
?This wrote the "New York Times" on 07.03.2012 about the unconventional exhibition of the first feminist art group in China, "Bald Girls". The title "Bald Girls" has been inspired by the famous, absurdist piece "The Bald Soprano ", written by the French writer Eugène Ionesco in the 1930s. The pronunciation of the words "Bald Girls" in Chinese has two meanings: singer or fighter. This ambiguity is to suggest that "Feminist Art" has just entered Chinese culture and its position still has to be fought for. The artists see themselves in contemporary art as pioneers of feminism and feel obliged to stand up for public education and awareness of the modern Chinese woman. "Bald Girls" represents the concept of Gender, namely the reflection of socio-cultural structures in terms of gender roles. It challenges the conventions and propose a combative role in contemporary art. The "Bald Girls" go to the streets with other women activists and draw attention to women's issues.?? The Frauenmuseum Bonn opens a large interdisciplinary exhibition titled "Single Moms" in 2014. The extensive historical part of the exhibition shows how the position of single mothers changed in history, both in the Middle Ages and from the 18th century until today. In addition to the documentary part of the exhibition, contemporary artists accompany the project. At the invitation of the Frauenmuseum in Bonn, the artist of the "Bald Girls" take part in this exhibition. In contrast to the objective facts of the historical exhibition, the "Bald Girls" work with their personal experiences and impressions; they draw on feminist issues and go to the causes of discrimination against "Single Moms" or women in the Chinese cultural tradition. At the same time, they criticize the current social policy in China. Together with German and international artists, the "Bald Girls" contribute their subversive art for improving the rights of women or single moms .??The artist Jiny Lan who lives now mostly in Germany believes that the discrimination against the female system in China can be traced back to the bloodline Thoughts of the Confucian tradition. For the Chinese people, preserving the blood line of one's own family is to be taken as seriously as a religious truth. According to traditional Chinese views, the bloodline continues only through the male members of the family, because only they can carry on the family name. Even after the introduction of the one-child family policy, this setting has not changed. This leads to selective abortion and female homicide after birth. These actions are the main cause of a serious imbalance in the gender ratio of the Chinese people. Starting from this situation, the artist Jiny Lan has created a series of works that not only address the misguided traditional thinking, but also provide a constructive proposal to solve the problem.
Work 1: "Who's your daddy?" This work starts as a giant nude painting of a reclining Confucius with very visible male sex organs. These are painted over and changed towards female sex organs by Jiny Lan. Subsequently, a large pipe is inserted through the canvas into this new Confucian vagina. Out of this pipe slide eighty male babysitter-learning-dolls, on whose heads the names of the Confucian descendants are written in red, Chinese stamp color. Each of these "blood line carriers" are the first-born males of a new Confucian generation. On their chest and back the appropriate number of the respective generation is noted.
This work suggests that the definitions of "ancestor" and "descendant", which are determined by male members of the family, are actually quite unreliable from a biological point of view. Confucius himself was a bastard, after all. To take a 80-generation pure bloodline this seriously is absurd indeed.
Work 2: "Sometimes the solution is the problem" Jiny Lan puts a male babysitter-learning-doll made of plastic and a girl-baby-doll made of soap into a children's bathtub filled with hot water. The baby-girl will dissolve with time and turn into soapy water while the baby-boy will remain lonely (but clean), lying in the bathtub.
This work makes use of the different properties of the materials plastic and soap to describe a society, in which the male members are clearly preferred in reproduction. There will certainly be fewer and fewer women.
Work 3: "A Modest Proposal" A costume from the acient China is hanging on a gallows-like construction. Lying under it are bamboo mats on which is painted a map of China. On this map lie 6379 dice which have three sides each for the Chinese word characters for "Mum" and "Dad". The Chinese character "?", which describes a petition to the Emperor is sewn onto the Tang costume. This symbol indicates that a letter to the Emperor is sewn into the fabric.
In this letter Jiny Lan proposes to create a legislative provision which will effect the use of special commissioners for the name registration in maternity hospitals. These commissioners shall determine the family name for each newborn by dice throw. According to the statistics of 2012, in China there are a total of 6,379 maternity clinics and special departments in general hospitals. It is the aim to reproduce the letter and the dice en masse and send it to every maternity hospital, where every day hundreds of girls are targeted by abortion.
By repeated international exhibitions and in China volunteers are to be found to support this action, so that this modest proposal can become a reality.
The artist Li Xinmo brings to "Single Mom" her own experience, as a unmarried mother, she has been personally strongly socially stigmatized as immoral. In fact, being a "Single Mom" is still a disgrace to the family, even if China has promoted the equality of the genders. Those curious ancient customs, such as the "review of the sheets" after the wedding night (to make sure that the bride is a virgin ) continue with the economic growth. An unmarried woman with a child would be a constant source of rumors and gossip. But if you still opt for the child, a woman's life is forever changed after the first day of pregnancy: the child gets no legal status, e.g. no health insurance, and can not attend public schools.??Li Xinmo has a number of works such as " Women" ( "??" 2011 ) and "Self-Portrait " ( "? ??" 2011 ) painted with their own menstrual blood , which were controversially receipted in China, as well as the extraordinary work " double vision " ( "?? ??" 2014) compiled to show and feel how "Single Moms" are culturally unaccepted and often excluded from the society .??The Performance "woman writing " ( "? ?" ) deals with Chinese characters which are directed against women. The Chinese characters are often made of different parts : In general, the left part determines the sense and the right part pronunciation. Li Xinmo has discovered the system in this character design: All characters with the part of "woman" ( "?" ) are either negative or derogatory occupied except for the character "good" "?" (woman with a son ). Words full of discrimination as a carrier of Chinese culture influence people's opinion, prejudice against women consciously and subconsciously . All words with "woman" due to discrimination against the female should be rewritten so that one could create a character sytem without discrimination. The additional aim is to convince first the character experts and finally the Chinese government and the institutions to accept the new unprejudiced characters. This performance should be the beginning of a great feminist action.??The artist Xiao Lu, who has acquired great fame in 1989 by the strong impact of her work "Dialogue " on the first Chinese contemporary art exhibit, provoked continuously the patriarchal oriented Chinese society after the shooting on her own art work being described as "the first declaration of democracy of China. Her feminist work "Sperm" ( "??") and "Wedding" ( "?" ) have now become classics of Chinese feminist contemporary art.???In the work "Sperm" (2006), Xiao Lu calls love, sex and traditional marriage into question. So she gathered sperm from anonymous donors. That is, men do not have to pursue the duties of a father or husband, not even raise the children, but they only give the sperm. The artist wants neither emotions nor physical exchange between the genders. She wants to only bear a child through artificial insemination. This work provokes the established male-dominated social structure .??The importance and meaning of the work "Sperm" is to deconstruct the dominant model of traditional marriage. Xiao Lu recognizes that the current family picture is an illusion, its validity must be questioned. For the "autonomous self" of the woman was lost by submission to the opposite sex.??In 2009 - 2010 Anniversary of that art exhibition - Xiao Lu has staged the performance "Marriage" : There is only the bride at the wedding, only she in a wedding dress and the rings on both hands . The artist uses the mode of a traditional wedding to subvert the marriage as a social convention. At the same time, she wants to show how a woman moves away from various illusions of traditional relationships and overcomes this with the "self- marriage " of the narcissistic ego. Finally, she finds the "meta- self" back.??Even in the 18th and 19th Century in Europe and in Germany unmarried women were despised and punished socially with children. They were mainly put under state tutelage. Only in the second half of the 20th Century the situation of those affected has improved by state policy. Today, the "Single Moms" in Germany in general are self-determined.??The situation for single mothers in China is comparable to that in Germany from about 100 years ago - it is a cultural and political time lag. "Bald Girls" have the task to compensate for these temporal and spatial difference .???30 January 2014
(Curator Juan Xu 2014 /3/13)