Sculptor from China. Living in Oslo，Norway.
Sculptor from China. Living in Oslo，Norway.
Sculptor from China. Living in Oslo，Norway.
Hong Fei, a Chinese female sculptor of Norwegian descent. During the years of living and creating in Norway, Hong Fei has participated in numerous exhibitions of various scales. The sculptures series of human body, based on the deformation and stretching on a solid modeling basis, the characters are given a certain symbolic language and gesture. Her works are not large in size , but the metallic properties and texture characteristics of brass and bronze make these figures appear thick, rough and stretched. it allows the viewer's sight to stay on these vague and bright faces repeatedly for a long time. These slender limbs, arms, necks, ankles, and palms, after being stretched and deformed by the artist, stay quietly in the air. They indicate the beginning or the end of an action. Or it is the opening of a dialogue, an impromptu dance, a purposeless rest...
These tiny moments are forever frozen in a space made of bronze or stone, similar to the snap shots of early photography, lacking deliberateness and The dramatic posing, the result is more dramatic and life-like. In the sculpture series "Spring", "Summer", "Autumn", "Winter", "Wind", "Aurora Borealis" and "The Piper", we can feel a certain poetic and agile temperament. The body of the characters is used to imply the four seasons and the scenery, leaving the usual emotions, without sorrow and joy, but broadening, allowing the viewer's vision and imagination to fly and feel more comfortable. The work "Vår" (Spring) takes a rare male as the main body, calm and stretched, slightly raised arms, and a bird falls on his hand.
Hong Fei studied sculpture at the Central Academy of Arts and Crafts in her youth. It has experienced a period of special turbulence from the 70s to the 80s. in China. Hong is not a critical creator. Her works do not involve public topics, nor do they contain feminist thinking. Although her creative themes have been mainly women for many years, she put aside pretentious and sweet and complicated decorations. In her words, it is not smooth and delicate, and those theories are not important to this artist.
F : Gallery F48.
H: artist Hong Fei.
21st. August - 4th. September, 2018
The interview with the artist Hong Fei was conducted and completed in different ways. Sometimes we met face to face, then we intervewed by written text or talked by phone call. Her personality and works are very unified, and she was gentleness, and is not entangled in trivial human feelings and emotions. Her strength and concentration are attached to these heavy metals and granite stones, and she can only interpret them one by one in calm observation and experience.
F: You obtained professional art training in China. At that time (70s/80s), what did impresse you the most education in the China Academy of Art? What did impact on your artistic creation later?
H: It should be said that since I was 15 years old, I have received formal and solid artistic foundation training. From the technical method, I can play freely and handily in my future creations.
F: The training of basic techniques has a positive effect on you, and it is handy, which shows that you are very confident. In your work account, you mentioned the memory of the Cultural Revolution in 1960` in China. For many Chinese who grew up and experienced, it was a very special historical period. Is there any potential connection between your later choosing to study sculpture and the creation of works that you insist on so far?
H: Speaking of my studies in sculpture, I would also like to thank my mother, because after the Cultural Revolution that began in 1966, China experienced restrictions on culture, art and ideology. My parents were sent to rural cadre schools. Don't worry, our sisters who stayed behind in Beijing found me a teacher from the Central Academy of Fine Arts to learn painting. In 1977, I was lucky enough to be the first batch of students admitted to the Beijing Arts and Crafts School after the Cultural Revolution. Among the majors of decoration, dyeing and weaving, and industrial design, decorative sculpture is the major with the least number of girls and the most competitive. Until I finished my studies at the Central Academy of Arts and Crafts, 8 years of experience in sculpture study made me feel that as I was growing up, I had tempered my will and physical strength.
F: Yes, sculpture is a very intensive physical activity. Especially for girls! You have continued to create sculptures and paintings for many years. In your work statement, you have always been interested in the performance of characters. Is there a shadow of yourself in the work?
H: Because of my traditional art education, the concrete physical performance has always affected me. In the great world, people are the most complex, expressive and infectious. I like to study people, expressing emotions and sorrows through physical changes, and also convey my understanding of life through my works.
F: Under what circumstances did you choose to move to Norway? Does the sudden change of living environment and cultural customs have any special impact on your artistic creation or artistic philosophy?
H: I moved to Norway with my husband in 1992. I quit my job as a teacher in Beijing. Like all young people in that era, I wanted to try to go abroad and see a different world outside. After arriving in Norway, I suddenly realized that the real art works that were only seen in albums in the past were so attractive and shocking. I smelled the air of freedom. Art creation can be so free and informal. So I had an impulse in my heart to vent, this kind of expression is inexhaustible in language, and then I created a variety of free and romantic themes.
F: After coming to Norway, have you tried to change your creation due to artistic style or market factors?
H: At that time, because I received strict basic training in realism in China, I have been doing realistic sculptures. It can be said that our foundation is very good compared with our Norwegian counterparts. But my earliest bronze sculpture "Mountaineer", although the realistic technique is very good, it is still too realistic. At that time, I decided to make some experiments and changes, to discard unnecessary real factors, to use imagination consciously, and to deform appropriately. And there is no need for models, because models sometimes limit your performance, and the image of the human body in the later period comes from the imagination in the mind. It can be said that from a creative perspective, thinking and change are natural. But for the sake of market factors to make changes, so-called style catering, I have always felt unnecessary. I still have to make my favorite style, including the choice of copper, and finally I still have to find what suits me best.
F: Most of your works use women as the subject matter (of course not only the expression of the beautiful body of women). Is it any kind of feminist view of yours? What do you think of Nordic feminism?
H: This topic reminds me of my early life in Beijing. At that time, my husband was working in the Beijing Dance Academy. I passed by the practice room every day. I couldn’t see the gentle dance steps of the girls. The youthful vigor always appeared in my works as an element. I only talked about it with the help of female subjects. Awareness of life. As for feminism, I don't pay much attention to it, nor do I have so many ideas in my creation.
G: But I noticed that you do not stop at the level of the so-called beautiful female body. After all, there are too many artists at home and abroad who use female bodies and faces as their performance objects, but many are superficial and even have too many artificial expressions.
H: Yes, this is to be avoided. I think the material of copper determines my creative direction and way of creation. It can create an elegant or slender and flexible feeling and is firm and stable. At first I tried to create with pottery, but it was too fragile and not easy to shape. Using copper can accurately express my feelings about the body. I used to study decorative sculpture at the Central Academy of Arts and Crafts, and I paid more attention to decorative language in modeling. Later, after focusing on bronze carving, this material also determines my style is to decorate, the details are more extensive rather than gorgeous and sweet. It seems that this has also shaped my character virtually.
G: This is interesting. For example?
H: Not so delicate and sweet.
G: Does it mean that it is not smooth? But it feels calmer and calmer, which is very consistent with your work. Is there any special awareness of the identity of `Chinese female artist` in Norway?
H: It seems that the identity consciousness of Chinese female artists is not very strong, because there are too many women in Norwegian artists that I know and come into contact with.
G: So how did you feel during your communication with them?
H: I met and knew a small number of immigrant artists, most of them were Norwegian artists. Norwegian female painters or sculptors are different from male artists. Regardless of their professional background or hobbies, they basically tend to express natural themes and prefer more sensual and free and relaxed themes. After all, real life is not easy, and there is no need to express suffering. The theme is more flowers, plants, and landscapes. Character subjects have always been very few. Of course, there are various styles, both concrete and abstract styles.
G: So what is the difference between male artists?
H: Compared with Norwegian female artists, they (male sculptors or painters) tend to express grand social themes, and are more rational and theoretical. The scale and volume of the sculptures are also very large. For example, in the style of the Norwegian sculptor Weigeland, he was vaguely heard in the early years that he had a pro-Nazi historical background during World War II. Of course, he did not express war or political themes, but the theme of human life and love. The majesty and heroism of Germany in the period.
G: Weigeland is one of Norway's representative artists. But it is true that ordinary people do not understand this historical detail. He has done a lot of large-scale bronze group sculptures and granite works. You also mentioned the attributes and symbolic meaning of copper. Have you ever thought of trying other materials?
H: In the past 40 years, I have done stone carving, wood carving, and pottery carving, but after arriving in Norway, due to limited conditions, I started to try bronze sculpture step by step. This metal material can better shape the exquisite space and changeable shape. Of course, I will still burn some pottery sculptures in the future to express the simple and heavy feeling of pottery.
G: From an artist's point of view, what do you think of the attitude of ordinary Norwegian people towards art?
H: After living in Norway for more than 20 years, I feel that Norwegians generally have a high level of aesthetics and understanding of art.
Through artistic communication with Norwegians, the distance between us has become very close, because Art knows no borders. As people with common characteristics, they all yearn for beautiful, free things and emotions.
Follow-up: On the eve of the preparation of the artist Hong Fei's solo exhibition and during the exhibition, the art interview with Ms. Hong Fei was conducted by chat and letter. On the opening day of the exhibition, she brought the fragrant apples from the garden and the apple cake her son baked specially for his mother's solo exhibition. The entire gallery space filled with Hong Fei's sculptures and paintings is full of autumn golden and blue colors, and warm and quiet atmosphere. This exhibition will last throughout September and will also fully display Hong Fei's art with 30 works.