About the Numerology of the Huangjijing, 1990

Photo: Courtesy of the artist / Long March Space, Beijing, 2005

Colored ink on paper
124.8 x 140.9 cm

The self-taught artist Guo Fengyi started out as a factory worker until she was forced to retire at an early age after suffering severe attacks of rheumatoid arthritis. With the aim of strengthening her immune system and relieving pain, Guo turned to Qi Gong, a traditional practice revolving around body-posture and movement, breathing, and meditation. She subsequently took up drawing and painting as part of her personal quest for physical healing and spiritual nurturing. Her art became the expression and record of bodily and mental energies often connected to visions of the other world flowing into and radiating from her hands. She describes her spiritual and healing research as follows: “Before I draw, I do not know what it will become. It is only after I finish drawing that I know. I draw because I do not know. I draw to know.” 

In About the Numerology of the Huangjijing, energetically drawn, elliptical red lines converge, overlap, and dissolve, recalling magnetic fields or a circulatory system. Numbers appear between the dense lines, written in sequences and expressing the metaphysical world of numerology. Here, her learnings derive from the I Ching (Book of Changes), a Chinese divination text whose origins date back to 1000–750 BCE. A classic in the study of traditional Chinese knowledge, the book is fundamental to disciplines such as numerology, acupuncture energy maps, the human circulatory system, sage kings, geomancy, and dynastic grave sites. At a time in which China was modernizing rapidly, Guo’s work reaffirmed the validity of these knowledge systems, preserving cultural memory and embracing Chinese science as a way of life and a stimulus for creativity. 


Group show: Remedios
Venue: C3A Centro de Creación Contemporánea de Andalucía, Córdoba
Curator: Daniela Zyman
Exhibition 14 April 2023 -  March 2024

Born in Xi'an, China, in 1942. Died in Xi'an, China, in 2010.