China, 1942 - 2010
Born in 1942 in Xi’an, Guo Fengyi began making art in her late forties after debilitating arthritis forced her into early retirement. To alleviate her chronic pain, Guo Fengyi devoted herself to qigong—an ancient Chinese wellness and healing technique that combines coordinated movements, breathing, and meditation. Qigong allowed Fengyi, who did not have an academic art training, to develop a deeply personal and symbolically charged visual language. Drawing appeared quite naturally to Fengyi and she drew what she envisioned, including sites and subjects that she couldn’t physically visit, or that she didn’t know about. Many of Guo Fengyi’s earliest drawings carefully map anatomical systems that the artist intuited rather than actually saw. Producing an astonishing body of work in the last two decades of her life, Fengyi created more than 500 drawings on subjects ranging from cosmology and Chinese mythology to traditional Chinese medicine and philosophy.