This exhibition catalogue features 18 sets of ‘woman’ sculptures and 21 sets of ‘man’ sculptures created by Rosanna Li. Chinese characters are ideographical. Rosanna Li is fond of Chinese characters and enjoys making fun of the phonetics and semantics of the language. With the 18 sets of female earthen sculptures, titled ‘Women Unwanted’, Li disregards the traditional meanings of the character, which features a ‘radical’ female ‘女’ and generates a new conceived meaning that questions the identity of the modern woman.
Li had a hard time learning English as a foreign language at a young age, but managed to master the alphabet and spent lots of time pouring over the English dictionary. Now, as an independent woman revisiting the English dictionary, her concern is that what she has learned is not essentially right — ‘mankind’, ‘manpower’, ‘manipulate’, ‘menopause’, ‘menstruation’, ‘man of letters’ — and realizes that all her life spent learning English is ‘with man’; ‘woman’ is non-existent. With mixed feeling of joy and frustration, Li created her 21 sets of ‘man’ sculptures teasingly playing on English ‘man-ly’ words. Her works were displayed in an exhibition titled ‘man, I wish I knew how to quit you!’
The juxtaposition of new and traditional meanings of each Chinese character - the woman radical or the English word with its ‘man’ prefix, presents a unique portrayal of ‘woman’ and ‘man’ as earthen sculptures, often prompting a laugh, yet perceptively expressing the independent voice of the modern Chinese woman.
WOMAN TO LOVE - MAN TO QUIT; Li Wei Han, Rosanna
H 175mm x W 155mm
English & Chinese