Qin Yufen (b. 1954)

Qin Yufen, born in 1954 in Shandong province in China, is becoming an increasingly important and recognised ink brush and installation artist of the immediate post-Cultural Revolution period. She is part of the generation directly influenced by Western abstract painting first-hand.She began to create abstract art in the late 1970s, and in the mid-1980s was part of a small group of artists who were allowed to leave China post-Cultural Revolution. She moved to Germany, where she was predominantly engaged in the creation of installation and land art. Her works often integrate visuals, audio, and symbols of Chinese traditions, as well as modern elements. Qin’s concepts are implied in the poetic atmosphere, as she uses her unique feminine way of expressing the individual aesthetics of self-examination and contemplation.

Having had to hide and suppress so much of their artistic expression while in China, exposure to Western art was a huge revelation for this group of artists, particularly the discovery and freedom of Western abstract painting that they had only known from images from Western literature smuggled into China. Qin’s encounter with the West was seismic to her art; she recognised synergies with ancient Chinese abstract ink painting, which had been long established and little known in the West. Alongside her installation and land art, Qin has been producing dynamic coloured ink paintings which are influenced by both Western abstract art and traditional Chinese ink painting techniques, while still depicting Oriental aesthetics of tranquility and ethereality embodied in Zen meditation.

After two decades, Qin Yufen and her husband Zhu Jinshi returned permanently to China. Until recently, they remained a private generation of artists that have followed the Chinese literati tradition and, marked by the forces of the Cultural Revolution, have always painted for themselves and their tight elite circle. This has now opened up, as their generation are being rediscovered for the importance they bear in modern Chinese art history.Qin Yufen has held solo exhibitions in Beijing, Tokyo, and Berlin, among other international cities.

She has participated in several group exhibitions, including Perfection by Chance—A Yi Pai Series Exhibition (2015), Pearl Lam Galleries, Hong Kong, China; Art Space Germany (2014), Goethe-Institut China, CAFAM, Beijing, China; Wu Ming, Form is Formless—Chinese Abstract Art (2011), Contrasts Gallery (now Pearl Lam Galleries), Shanghai, China; The First Today’s Documents 2007—Energy: Spirit, Body, Material (2007), Today Art Museum, Beijing, China; The Wall: Reshaping Contemporary Chinese Art (2005), New York; Left Hand, Right Hand: A Sino- German Exhibition of Contemporary Art (2003), Beijing, China. Qin Yufen’s work is found in numerous public collections internationally, including Deutsche Bank (Germany), Washington World Bank (USA), Hamburger Bahnhof-Museum (Germany), IFA Art Foundation, and Montblanc Art Collection (Germany), amongst others.