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Hand Stand




When you do a handstand, you look at the world from an opposite angle.

“The strong patriarchal system of discourse in Chinese Feudal times precluded any possibility of the existence of a complete or independent life for women. . . . There were only two kinds of women who might have had the right to paint: the Courtesan of the inner chambers and the Prostitute of the outside world.”[1] This speaks of the traditional art practice of the gentlemen scholars of feudal China.

In her new series of painting, Doris Sung experiments with the traditional medium of ink and wash, thus opening a dialogue between herself and the values and taboos that had been underwritten into the classical Chinese parlour art.

Using ink, xuan paper and ink jet prints on canvas as platform, she plotted with embroidery floss maps, charts and graphs that reflect numbers and statistics concerning a woman’s life. These numbers are modern derivations from medicine and technology, with which women begin to take control of their own lives. Ironically, these data and what they signify are often measured through male standards. This irony is further conveyed through the use of embroidery in Sung's work. Embroidery was a traditional social skill by which women’s worthiness was measured. However, for some women, it was their way of expressing their creativity, needs and desires, as often seen in folk embroidery and quilting.

The works are about the dichotomies of desire and denial, and the breakthroughs that emerge from contradictions.

It is another world that you see when you do a handstand.

[1] Tumultuous History of China's Feminist Values and Art by Liao Wen from http://www.chinese-art.com