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GET TO KNOW: CUI FEI
by Art-in-Buildings

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EIN FANTASIETEXT AUS
400 REBZWEIGLEIN
by Ev Manz

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CUI FEI
by Christopher Calderhead

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INTERVIEW WITH CUI FEI
by ACAW

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NATURE AND CALLIGRAPHY
by Britta Erickson

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CUI FEI
at The Warehouse Gallery,
Syracuse University

by Jonathan Goodman

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TAKING ANOTHER LOOK
by Katherine Rushworth

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CUI FEI
by Seo Jeong-Min

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ARTIST OF THE MONTH:
CUI FEI
by Michèle Vicat

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WAVE OF GRAIN
by John Haber

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A LOOK AT CUI FEI
by Charlie Schultz

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SEVEN ENIGMATIC
SCULPTURES
by Robert Ayers

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REASON'S CLUE EXHIBIT
AT QMA
by Mike Wood

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WHERE BRIEF WORKS
LEAVE LASTING
IMPRESSIONS
by Laurel Graeber

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CUI FEI AT GALLERY 456
by Jonathan Goodman


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AN INTERVIEW WITH
ZHANG HONGTU
by Cui Fei

 

 

CUI FEI

by Seo Jeong-Min

 

Cui Fei’sTracing the Origin VI looks like calligraphy of Chinese characters in a flowing cursive style, but they are all illegible. It is not brush writing but an array of grape tendrils on a plain sheet. The tendrils and their shadows are featured together shaping into a form. Using such natural pieces, the artist present installation art or photoprints the installation work on paper.

Instead of expressing nature, the artist lets nature itself write the characters and leave its trace. The artist’s approach to nature is not as a motif but a recording medium largely influenced by her experience. She spent her childhood in Jinan, a city located between Beijing and Shanghai, China. Jinan enjoyed prosperity for a long time throughout the succession of Chinese dynasties that have continued since the New Stone Age. She grew up in confusion between the deeply rooted Confucian culture and China’s Cultural Revolution, from 1960 to 1970. Later, she had to leave her family to attend school elsewhere in China. The sudden opening of China to capitalism and a ten year career as an artist in the U. S. A. was too big to bear and control on her own. She learned China’s traditional pictorial art, calligraphy, and art, oil-painting, under the influence of Russian surrealism, before moving to the U. S. A. to experience the new trends of art. Meanwhile, her own battle to find identity as an artist has continued. Watching the withering knowledge and power of the state, as they were once believed to be absolute, she moved to a different locale. She felt the vanity and evanescence of all. This led her to explore the relationships of culture, power, human with nature and their identities. She has adopted the processes of deconstruction and reconstruction to express the findings in her artwork.

Cui seeks a universal language from nature in contrast to ephemeral evanescence. Traditionally, people in China associate nature and universe with, not just what the writings signify, but the act of writing itself. The tradition is found in various ancient Chinese writings:  Chinese characters originated from the 8 trigrams found in the logic of nature during the times of Three August Ones and Five Emperors; or the evolution of letters began from imitating birds’ footprints; and the notion of the Six Principles for pictorial art and calligraphy, such quiyun shengdong, meaning ‘animation through spiritual consonance’ and gufa yongbi, meaning ‘structural method in use of the brush’, so that the energy, qi, should be well carried in writing and painting.

The artist always remembers the traditional rules of calligraphy. For smooth circulation of the energy, qi, the artist practices the method of Chinese character writing, starting from the top to down and from the right to the left when she places the tendrils in array. The writings composed using fragile plant materials indicate nature itself. At the same time, they become hieroglyph and ideogram that reveal the evanescence of man-made creations. Likewise, Cui reinterprets Chinese style aesthetics and philosophy through the so called modern art strategies, such as, borrowing, reference, differentiation, and indixicality. Her works reflect the philosophy of Chinese people that nature ceaselessly changes but is eternal, not an object to rule but as a metaphor or agenda for life.  

 

© Cui Fei 2008-2017. All rights reserved.