Artist’s Take on Sexual Abuse Turns Ugly

Didi Kristen Tatlow writes about an attack on artist Yan Yinhong during a live show in Hai’an. “Life imitated art, startlingly and crudely,” when Yan, who was performing a dance piece about sexual violence against women was assaulted by two men who rushed the stage:

Did she report it to the police? No: “How could you report that here?” she asked.

“To me, their interference showed the vileness of society, and our society is vile,” Ms. Yan said in a telephone interview.

The offenders are both Beijing artists who were known to the organizer of the event. There was a similar, though less violent, interference in another female artist’s performance the same day. The incidents demonstrate deep-seated problems in the way women are seen and treated in the Chinese modern art scene, as well as society in general.

This is what Ms. Li concluded from the assaults on her and Ms. Yan: “If the artists had been men, such interference would have been unlikely,” she said, summarizing comments she posted on an online art magazine, igniting debate. “But it seems that people are used to not respecting women’s wishes.”

[…]Writing on, the artist and critic Wu Wei challenged Ms. Li’s interpretation. Mr. Wu concluded that the men’s actions were a form of interactive art, though he conceded that at one point one man may have overstepped a boundary — when he unzipped his fly and took out his penis, a moment also confirmed by Ms. Yan. Even that “basically fit the meaning and needs of the piece,” Mr. Wu wrote.[Source]


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