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He Chengyao 何成瑶

Born Sichuan, China, 1964. 

Mother and daughter relationship, He Chengyao's central topic. However, as the branches of a tree her core topic embraces other socio-political aspects of the Chinese life. Born in Sichuan. Her parents conceived her, unmarried, a social insult in Chinese society. Abort society said. Mother refuses and carried with her. Jobless and more siblings arrived. The context: the famous Cultural Revolution. One day Chengyao's father disappeared, for political reasons, no one knows. 

Chengyao's mother can't cope with all the pressure and her predisposition to a mental illness overtakes their lives. Her complicated family story fills her art. Mental illness, how condemn and forgotten are the ones who suffer it. A clack of support. Her performances are not fill with anger, or desperation they seem more like a sweet intent to understand her mother, understand her own life. The political criticism might come as a side effect.


That is the case of her performance"99 Needles", He has claim she reneacts the pain of her mother. During the 60' a pseudo doctor attempted to heal her mother's illness with accupunture. This seems a way to feel her mother closer, even if it is through pain. 

 " Opening of the Great Wall" is another of her big artworks. Highly criticised at that time, Chengyao's topless in the Great Wall of China raised voices. but not only critical also a voice of questioning the social puritanism. The traditional believes opposed to the nakedness of a woman. Is widely seen as improper. 

Other works: Mama and Me, 2001. Illusions, 2002

99 needles, 2002

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