gate e997a8 1999
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GATE 门, 1999

A colourful papercut by Xiyadie. It shows four abstracted figures, all with phalluses, in what appears to be a garden. Two red ornamental doors with yellow studs and feline decorative handles stand open behind the figures. The flowers and the branches that span above the figures seem to sprout from the figures themselves.

Artist: Xiyadie
Media: Papercut, Water-Based Dye, and Chinese Pigments using Xuan Paper
Date & Location: 1999, Beijing
Image Source: Nome Gallery. Photo by Gianmarco Bresadola.

Significance to Queer Art History

Xiyadie (pseudonym) is the first known queer artist to carry on the traditional practice of papercutting in China, which has its roots in the Eastern Han Dynasty (Bao, 157 and Nome Gallery). He was born in Heyang County, Shaanxi Province and is now living in Beijing. His artwork often explores the lives of queer people who are living in rural China specifically. His pseudonym, which means ‘Siberian Butterfly,’ was chosen so that the butterfly surviving in a harsh environment could signify “the difficulty of living a gay life in a sexually conservative society (Bao, 158).”

As Bao explores in the article cited below, Xiyadie’s work also blurs categories of ‘craft’ and ‘art,’ which in itself might be read as a queer defiance of categories.

A colourful papercut by Xiyadie. It shows four abstracted figures, all with phalluses, in what appears to be a garden. Two red ornamental doors with yellow studs and feline decorative handles stand open behind the figures. The flowers and the branches that span above the figures seem to sprout from the figures themselves.
Xiyadie, GATE 门, 1999

Resources

Bao, Hongwei. Queer China: Lesbian and Gay Literature and Visual Culture Under Postsocialism. New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2020.

Nome Gallery. Xiyadie. 2016. https://nomegallery.com/artists/xiyadie/.

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