Contemporary Chinese artist Peng Wei puts a spin on tradition with her paper sculptures of female torsos. The figures, composed of layered flax and cotton, are painted with images from ancient Chinese narratives including Paragons of Feminine Virtue by Ming-dynasty thinker Lv Kun and Strange Tales from the Chinese Studio by Qing-dynasty novelist Pu Songling. In doing this, she reimagines these historic tales and reclaims them from the male gaze with a uniquely feminine interpretation; her work serves both to honor and subvert tradition in a nuanced celebration of womanhood.
Peng herself has a very distinct perspective as to what constitutes tradition and how we interact with it from a contemporary standpoint. It's something that distinguishes her from many other contemporary Chinese ink painters. “Their intention to break tradition is so obvious, to the point that they simplify the definition of tradition, which becomes monotonously unified,” the artist explains. “They have imagined tradition as an enemy, so they must break through it again.” But for Peng, tradition evolves. “In my eyes, there is no unified artistic concept; there are only personal concepts. Tradition is private and not to be found in a textbook. It is living, and still slowly developing; it is not past and lifeless.”
Scroll down to see more images of Peng's beautiful paper sculptures, and visit the artist's website to see more of her incredible work.