“The exhibition entitled <<Century . Woman>> is not a group show of women artists in the general sense. The criteria for selecting the work was not determined by the fame or achievement of each individual alone, but focused on whether or not the artist’s work demonstrates ‘female characteristics’ or experienced from a ‘women’s perspective’. It is these characteristics that separate women artists of the 1990s from those of any other time in history. Furthermore, gender differences have recently become a popular topic in Chinese contemporary art. Although there have been many women artists in the past, the notion of a ‘Women’s Art’ has never arisen before. As women artists through past ages painted using a formula created by men and that was judged by men’s standards, they made art without any gender-identity or awareness of the self. In China, the process of development from the germination of self-awareness to the appearance of a discourse on and by women, was a long one. We have collected information on and researched the history of women artists of the past century. Our conclusion, and the academic starting point for this exhibition, is that women’s art has its own characteristics. In the modern world, women artists interpret things in a different way and from a different perspective to men. This is the value of women’s art.
In contemporary art we should not seek to categorize artists according to their sex, but at the same time, we can not deny those distinguishing characteristics that naturally exist. In producing this exhibition, we are more interested in the latter.
‘Women’s Art’ is a fact of Chinese contemporary art. It is not an inane concept for it is not in doubt. When collaboration between artists who are husband and wife has been done, the wives go on to paint differently from their husbands. The difference is down to the woman’s awareness of herself, by which is implied an awareness of her own perspective, experience, standards of judgment, specific concerns and interests. Even her approach to understanding the world, her ways of thinking about and experiencing it are different from those of men. The gender difference becomes the cornerstone upon which women’s art makes its foundation, and which characterizes its aesthetic independence and spiritual direction.”
Even though we planned the <<Century · Woman>> exhibition on the basis of our collection, our collection is humble, the number of works limited. In one respect, we chose “Contemporary Women’s Art” as the theme of our collection because as we looked at the popular streams of contemporary art, we knew our funds were limited. In another respect, our consideration was because we felt our reach to be limited. However, we hope that by focusing on one specific area, we can inspire other corporations to pay greater attention to culture, to support art and push forward the spiritual civilization plan.
As we sit here, on the eve of the millennium, <<Century. Woman>> is as much a look back at the development of art in this century as confirmation of our faith in women artists for the next century. The majority of the women artists taking part in this exhibition are very young; they are surely the new hope for the future of Chinese art.