Istanbul, July 14 () - With his famous fat women sculptures, Chinese state-approved artist Xu Hongfei will be in Istanbul between July 23 and 29. But with mounting attacks against East Asian tourists in the country by vandals protesting the alleged Chinese repression of Uighurs, tight security measures are being taken by Turkish police for Nişantaşı Art Park’s next exhibition.
Recently, a concert by the Chinese Philharmonic Orchestra, set for Aug. 16 at Istanbul’s Zorlu PSM, was canceled out of fear of attacks but caused dispute amongst concert-goers and organizers.
The Şişli Municipality has announced the sculpture exhibition will not be displayed at a gallery but, rather, in the open at the Nişantaşı Art Park, Nişantaşı Abdi İpekçi Avenue and Ortaköy Square.
Organizers of the exhibition said they discussed the protection of the sculptures with the Turkish police as well as a security firm. They also added that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s speech speaking out against the recent violence against Asian tourists ended concerns about the exhibition.
Charm of chubby women
As part of his world tour, world-renowned Hongfei’s sculptures previously visited London, Paris, Tuscan, Sicily, Kuala Lumpur and Sydney. Istanbul will be the seventh destination of the sculptures.
The artist’s world tour has been closely followed in China; he also serves as a guide for Chinese tourists at his display destinations. Therefore, the exhibition in Istanbul is expected to draw Chinese tourists to the country.
The Istanbul show includes 15 sculptures the artist created by considering Turkish cultural values. Also, unlike other sculpture shows, one may touch the sculptures at Hongfei’s show.
Born in Guangzhou in 1963, Hongfei studied sculpture at Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts. He has been involved in numerous public sculpture projects in different parts of China since 1990s. He established his 10,000 square-foot studio in 1995. He is currently the vice chancellor of Guangzhou Sculpture Institute.
After the creation of his first “Chubby Women” sculpture in 1997, Hongfei was encouraged by Huang Yongyu, another acclaimed Chinese artist, to develop the sculpture into a collection of works, in order to bring Hongfei to new heights in his artistic career. Hongfei, motivated and encouraged, continued his research and development of the “Chubby Women” series. At present, Hongfei has created over 100 “Chubby Women” sculptures.
Hongfei, who believes that “art should be fun and amusing,” combines the traditional and contemporary spirit of art in this series.