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Guo Fengyi

China, 1942-2010

Born in 1942 in Xi’an, she began making art in her late forties, after debilitating arthritis forced her into early retirement from a job at a chemical fertilizer plant. To alleviate her chronic pain, she turned to qigong – an ancient Chinese wellness and healing technique that combines coordinated movements, breathing and meditation. Producing an astounding repertoire of work over the last two decades of her life, Fengyi created more than 500 complex ink drawings on subjects ranging from Chinese cosmology and mythology to traditional Chinese medicine and philosophy. Many of Guo Fengyi’s early drawings – including the Diagram of the Human Nervous System and The Liver Meridian Diagram – carefully map the anatomical systems that the artist intuited, rather than actually seeing them.