Yun-Fei Ji: Artist in Residency Program

February 16 – 20, 2015
 

Yun-Fei Ji and Christine Ho in conversation at the screening of the Chinese film Still Life.
Professor Christine Ho and Yun-Fei Ji in conversation at the Opening Reception of
Yun-Fei Ji:  Migrants, Ghosts, and the Dam.


 

The celebrated Chinese artist Yun-Fei Ji concluded a highly successful week-long residency at UMass Amherst, from February 16 to 20, 2015, with a unique multidisciplinary focus, thanks to the support of the Class of 1961 Artists Residency Program, in collaboration with the University Museum of Contemporary Art (UMCA). The artist’s Residency coincided with his solo exhibition at the UMCA, Yun-Fei Ji: Migrants, Ghosts, and the Dam .

Yun-Fei Ji is known for his masterful use of traditional ink painting, on handmade rice paper with translucent ink or paint based on natural pigments. His draftsmanship draws on centuries old techniques, including calligraphy. His subjects evoke traditional Chinese landscape painting: figures and scenes recall tales and epics from Chinese folklore and history. His work echoes the oeuvre of the ancient Dynasty Masters, whose paintings combined compositional and technical brilliance with expression of sorrow and melancholy, conveying an underlying political message. Ji still depicts the internal difficulties of the Chinese culture, e.g. building a dam and the risks and human sorrow involved, or the failure of the communist utopia. Those social subjects give cause for the illustration of personal and symbolical fantasy, and more global, existential human tragedy and beauty. The artist borrows past events to comment on present problematic developments. Yun-Fei Ji’s works are particularly layered as they are hybrid compositions of historical narratives and autobiographical notes.

UMass and Five-College students were provided with direct access to this prominent artist who offered a teaching and mentorship role through one-on-one critique sessions with MFA students in Studio Art; participation in seminar discussions with Art department undergraduate and graduate students; and a personal tour of his exhibition and discussion with Smith College Environmental Studies students. Open free of charge to the general public were the following events with capacity crowds in attendance: a public conversation about his work with UMass Art History assistant professor Christine Ho; and a public discussion led by Yun-Fei Ji following the screening of the film Still Life at the Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival.

In all respects, this week-long residency met the Class of 1961 Artists Residency Program's mission to enliven the cultural life of the campus, to enhance and supplement educational opportunities, and to bring artists together with a wide spectrum of people — students, faculty, and community members, for the purpose of learning in, through and about the contemporary visual arts.

The success of this Residency was capped off by the artist’s generous donation of two of his seminal works: one to the University Museum of Contemporary Art’s permanent collection: Three Gorges Dam Migration, a three-meter-long watercolor woodcut print in the form of a traditional Chinese hand scroll; and On the High Branches, a 2007 lithograph, is for sale, with proceeds going to sustain the Class of 1961 Artists Residency Program.

 
 


Yun-Fei Ji talks with museum visitors at the Opening Reception of Yun-Fei Ji:  Migrants, Ghosts, and the Dam.
Yun-Fei Ji talks with museum visitors at the Opening Reception of Yun-Fei Ji:  Migrants, Ghosts, and the Dam.
    Our Opening Reception for Yun‐Fei Ji: Migrants, Ghosts, and the Dam drew a large crowd!
Our Opening Reception for Yun‐Fei Ji: Migrants, Ghosts, and the Dam drew a large crowd!
Geuryung Lee, grad student, discusses her work with Artist-in-Residence Yun-Fei Ji.
Geuryung Lee, grad student, discusses her work with Artist-in-Residence Yun-Fei Ji.
 

Yun-Fei Ji and Christine Ho in conversation at the screening of the Chinese film Still Life.

Yun-Fei Ji and Prof. Christine Ho in conversation at the Multicultural Film Festival screening of the Chinese film
Still Life.


 
Lauren Bennet, grad student, discusses her work with Artist-in-Residence Yun-Fei Ji.
Lauren Bennet, grad student, discusses her work with Artist-in-Residence Yun-Fei Ji.
 

 Yun-Fei Ji visiting Jeannette Cole’s class.
Yun-Fei Ji visiting Jeannette Cole’s class.
Yun-Fei Ji and Procheta Mukherjee Olson discuss her work. 
Yun-Fei Ji and Procheta Mukherjee Olson discuss her work.
   


 

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Exhibition Events

Yun-Fei Ji, Artist in Residence

February 16 - 20, 2015

Reception for the Artist

February 17, 2015, 5 –7:00 p.m.
Yun-Fei Ji and Christine Ho (Assistant Professor, UMass Art History) in conversation at 5:30 p.m.

Film Screening

Wednesday, February 18, 2015, 7:00 p.m.
Flavin Auditorium (School of Management 137)
Still Life (Good people of the Three Gorges), 2006, 111 min., subtitles
A Chinese film directed by Jia Zhangke
Winner of the Golden Lion Award for Best Film, 2006 Venice Film Festival
Christine Ho will introduce the film / Comments by Yun-fei Ji after the screening
Co-sponsored by the Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival and the Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies at UMass Amherst.