MAN Phoebe Ching Ying

1969 | Hong Kong, Hong Kong
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MAN Phoebe Ching Ying — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Portrait of Phoebe Ching Ying Man, photo by Riddick Douglas

Hong Kong conceptual artist.

Phoebe Ching Ying Man creates mixed-media sculptures, installations, performances and digital artworks. Beyond her own artistic practice, she is an Associate Professor at the City University of Hong Kong and an independent curator. After studying at the Chinese University of Hong Kong from 1987 to 1991, Man worked as an art journalist for three years for the Hong Kong Economic Journal. She then decided to pursue art full-time, eventually receiving her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2000 and her PhD from RMIT, Melbourne in 2012. Man is one of the founders of Para Site art space and the director of the Asian Experimental Video Festival in Hong Kong.

Man’s artistic practice provides commentary on social and cultural issues, stating that the “personal is political,” referring to the feminist tenet. One of her best-known works, Beautiful Flowers (1996) consists of flowers made from sanitary napkins with a red-stained egg in the middle. Red eggs are customarily eaten in celebration of a baby’s birth, and the work provides commentary on the traditional view of menstruation as unclean in Hong Kong culture. The work challenges this taboo and emphasises the natural biological phenomenon as beautiful. My Mirror (2014) uses the same materials, in combination with a mirror, which conveys a personal statement about her own anxiety surrounding menstruation as a student who feared a late period and what that might signify – pregnancy and marriage. Although much of Man’s work has a strong female subjectivity and engages with feminist concerns, she describes her work as being more from “the position of a human being rather than a feminist”. She aims to produce artwork that is socially engaged, and spark discussions on issues such as sexual assault.

The social awareness in Man’s works is exemplified by the installation If I Were (2014-2015), which encourages the audience to consider sexual violence in wartime, asking participants what they would do if they were a Japanese soldier who had power over a woman. It was meant to promote empathy for the victims. This empathy was also reflected in One Person One Heart (2014), a video protesting sexual slavery by the Japanese military during World War II. The video ends with a compilation of over 800 drawings of a modified Japanese flag and a heart from 400 contributors, resulting in an animation of a beating heart. Social commentary through audience participation is present in many of Man’s works. One Pyeong of Golden Bricks (2015) serves as a critique of the housing market in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Printed on each of the bricks, which are made with golden cardboard and filled with rice, is the message “Housing is a basic need, not a gold brick”. As part of her socially engaged art practice, the bricks (along with the rice inside) were distributed to the public when the exhibition ended.

Man’s work is in many public collections, including the Hong Kong Museum of Art and the Ama Museum, Taipei. Her work has been exhibited in numerous international exhibitions, including the Venice Biennale (2003), and Shanghai Biennale (2004).

Rebecca Lowery

A notice produced as part of the TEAM international academic network: Teaching, E-learning, Agency and Mentoring


© Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions
MAN Phoebe Ching Ying — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Phoebe Ching Ying Man, My Mirror, 2014, sanitary napkins, eggshells, and a mirror, 55 cm × 55 cm × 4 cm, installation view at Center for Women’s Health and Human Rights, Suffolk University, Boston, 2015 © Courtesy of the artist

MAN Phoebe Ching Ying — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Phoebe Ching Ying Man, Beautiful Flowers, 1996, sanitary napkins, eggshells, chair and red light bulb, 4 x 3 x 2 m, installation view at SFMOMA, San Francisco, 1999 © Courtesy of the artist

MAN Phoebe Ching Ying — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Phoebe Ching Ying Man, Birthday Cakes, 2014-2015, edible sculpture, performance and photography © Courtesy of the artist

MAN Phoebe Ching Ying — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Phoebe Ching Ying Man, Erosion of Home “Did you give up anything to buy a house?”, 2014, paper © Courtesy of the artist

MAN Phoebe Ching Ying — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Phoebe Ching Ying Man, Home Sweet Home, 2012, video, 2 min. 39 s. © Courtesy of the artist

MAN Phoebe Ching Ying — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Phoebe Ching Ying Man, If I Were, 2014-2015, memorial exhibition of “Comfort Women” on the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII, installation view at URS27W space, Taipei, 2015 © Courtesy of the artist

MAN Phoebe Ching Ying — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Phoebe Ching Ying Man, One Person One Heart, 2014, paper and video, installation view at Floating Projects, Hong Kong, 2020 © Courtesy of the artist

MAN Phoebe Ching Ying — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Phoebe Ching Ying Man, One Pyeong of Golden Bricks, 2015, paper and rice, installation view at Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei © Courtesy of the artist

MAN Phoebe Ching Ying — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Phoebe Ching Ying Man, One Pyeong of Golden Bricks (detail), 2015, paper and rice, installation view at Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei © Courtesy of the artist

MAN Phoebe Ching Ying — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Phoebe Ching Ying Man, Rati (version 3.2), 2000-2001, video, 8 min., still © Courtesy of the artist

MAN Phoebe Ching Ying — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Phoebe Ching Ying Man, Wolves, part of Rewriting History series, 2010, paper cutting, 50 cm x 50 cm x 4.5 cm © Courtesy of the artist

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