Who is YUN BAI?
Yun considers herself a “Southern Asian” and her experiences are grounded in this dichotomy. Born in Beijing, China in 1979, she migrated with her parents to Tallahassee, Florida, at age six. She grew up in a conservative, traditional Chinese setting, complete with extracurricular activities, strict discipline and high expectations. But Yun had the most fun swinging off vines and partying around sink holes; some of her fondest memories include running barefoot in the lush trees of Tallahassee. Thus, she is a “Southern Asian” and will always have the graciousness of the South in her heart.
Moving to Atlanta in 1998, she pursued her passion for art at Agnes Scott College, a private women's school. After graduation, she quickly found representation and began showing at galleries around the city and nationally. Her first international show was at Berlin's Gallery 24 in June of 2004. In 2008, Yun was chosen as one of 30 artists invited from around the world to participate in the Chinese Biennial at the Ku Art Center in Beijing, China. Other highlighted exhibitions include the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, W Hotel Midtown Atlanta, Phipps Plaza, Bert Green Fine Art, Pacific Design Center, Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, Presbyterian College, Hollins University, and Steve Turner Contemporary. She is represented by New Gallery (Houston).
Self and societal exploration are major themes in Yun’s life and work. She favors an eternal optimism, enjoys creating social stimulatory experiments and strives to make sure her art asks provocative questions. She has been recognized by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, ART PAPERS Magazine, Art Asia Pacific, LA Weekly (Top 10 Emerging Artists), New American Paintings, World Journal,The Wall Street Journal, and most recently the cover of The London Magazine (UK’s oldest cultural magazine since 1732). ARTSPROJEKT also selected Yun to be amongst their cache of artists on their international merchandising platform.
“I promise to push myself to create the edgiest art the world has ever seen. My aim is to fulfill visions that stimulate society to think through analyzing history, reflecting our current state, or implementing an optimistic ideal of human conditions. There is both beauty and decay in our environment. Like someone that channels, my duty is to observe and learn from both and express it through my perspective, without apology.”
-- YUN BAI
Do you know what a Porn Flower is? A Porn Flower symbolizes that “All women are flowers”, exemplifying that something beautiful can come out of a situation that most would deem difficult. Progressive artist Yun Bai proposes questions concerning new identity as she transforms the intimate flesh and rawness of pornographic images into flowers of hope and beauty. Her unique vision results in art with social impact that questions, reflects, sometimes involving men to support women. Yun personifies the flowers and captures the struggle of the human spirit in that weary moment right before a significant breakthrough.
From afar you see the flowers -beautiful and detailed, but nothing out of the ordinary. Upon closer inspection, the leaves and petals reveal themselves to be female body parts drawn from a collage of imagery found in pornographic magazines. While some may view pornography as objectifying and exploitative, Yun uses the imagery as a form of empowerment to make something beautiful out of what the status quo deems vulgar. The Porn Flowers have grown to symbolize triumph over difficult times with a focus on healing, strength, courage, and enthusiasm for the future.
During college Yun learned her mother had cancer and her parents would be filing for bankruptcy. She was determined to graduate from Agnes Scott College, a private women's school, and needed to come up with money -- fast. She knew she wasn't slick enough to sell drugs, so she worked as an exotic dancer to complete her degree in Studio Art. From one perspective the dancers were mothers, college students, marketing consultants, and gym teachers. From another view they were sex objects, outcasts, drug addicts, and women of ill-repute. Yun constantly struggled with her identity, but finally came to embrace the idea that she is a flower; all women are flowers.
This idea of empowering women to see themselves and each other as flowers of hope and triumph was realized recently by one of Yun's collectors. As her fight with cancer drew to a close, this collector requested she be surrounded with her family, friends and favorite art, including the Porn Flowers. Gathering together these most meaningful aspects of her life she found comfort, support, and the strength to view her passing as the beginning of a new journey. This touched Yun very much as it was the most priceless of compliments she has ever received.
Not only does Yun strive to empower women but to also involve men in supporting equal rights of women. From donating unblemished porn, helping collage, to collaborating with her for charities focused on women's issues, men play an important role in the process of the Porn Flowers.
Yun wants her audience to know that after the struggle, something extraordinarily beautiful always prevails.
Visit her site at WWW.YUNBAI.COM.