Penia 潘妮娅

In Plato’s Symposium, Penia is the mother of the god of love, Eros. Porus is the father of Eros. While Penia stands for poverty and ugliness, Porus is clever and resourceful. Penia takes advantage of Porus when he is drunk and that is how Eros is born. For me, that these passed-down stories are similar to the patriarchy that run through my family, and have been passed down from generation to generation in China.

Born into a relatively conventional family in China, my father always wanted a son because he believed that only boys can inherit certain spirits. Still, I grew up with no brother, but three sisters. I knew I was a girl but I had been told, that it was better to be a boy. Therefore, during my childhood and adolescence, my feelings about gender and about boys were confused and conflicted. These early experiences have had a huge influence on my project.

I explore the duality of my existence in the project Penia. I work with the feeling that I am imprisoned by a binary vision of gender and my work expresses the intention to break out of the prison created by this binary view.

I intend to represent or even respond to the impact of the ‘gaze’. Starting from Mulvey’s (1975) notion of the Male Gaze, I believe that the gaze is more about projecting onto others assumptions from personal experience. People observe others and reflect on themselves through the gaze in a way that is similar to the way photos, as objects, are both interpreted by and, at the same time, act on spectators. By playing with the notion of the gaze, I want to deconstruct certain stereotypes and blur the boundary lines of gender.


        我出生在一个相对保守的家庭,我的父亲一直想要一个儿子。他认为只有男孩才能继承某些家族精神, 并且在老家没有儿子是会被别人嘲笑的事。尽管如此,我跟三个姐妹一起长大,没有哥哥或者弟弟。经常有人告诉我如果我是一个男孩的话会更好,我也很清楚我是一个女孩。所以,在我的童年和青春期过程中,我一直对另一性别很困惑以及有着矛盾的情感。这些早期的经历对我的创作有着很大的影响。