“Brush, No Brush” with Red Hong Yi and Aoi Yamaguchi

The two guests for this show have both spoken at beyond tellerrand already and both their presentations left me with an open mouth because of their incredible beautiful and wonderful work. While Aoi is using a brush heavily in her work and parts of her given talk about Japanese calligraphy actually dealt with brushes, Red, at one point, decided to leave the brush in the drawer and to use materials ranging from teabags, to chopsticks, socks, eggshells and more. Excited to hear what they have been up to since we met last time!

Attention: This event starts 17:00 (5pm Berlin time). Red currently is in Malaysia, while Aoi is in Los Angeles and I am in Krefeld. Caught in time zones ;)


Painting as a Brushless Artist

The talk of Red Hong Yi will be a personal journey of the last 10 years of her career as a full-time artist who ‘paints’ using everyday objects and materials.

Red’s background being a Chinese-Malaysian who studied architecture. Practicing architecture in Shanghai piqued her fascination in building installations with objects she could source at bulk around her.

Red will speak about her earliest to her latest works. She is going to demonstrate how she has used objects like teabags, coffee cups, socks, egg shells, and most recently vegetables and ink (she has been drawn towards traditional Chinese paintings drawn with ink; perhaps this is because she’s drawn lately towards connecting with her heritage and lineage. So maybe ink could also be another element that overlaps for Aoi and her). Red will talk about what she’s learned in each project that she hopes will be helpful for fellow creatives.

She will talk about how the lockdown last year made her restructure her career. From being a freelancer who was hopping around country to country a lot, to being rooted in one city and building a team. What it is like leading, having a team of 6 now and how it is to balance commercial vs personal work as an artist.

Lastly, Red also wants to talk about a personal project she was working on last year, in response to anti-Asian racism during the pandemic, titled “I am Not a Virus”.

About Red Hong Yi

Red Hong Yi

Red Hong Yi is a Chinese-Malaysian contemporary artist who makes work expressing her heritage and Chinese diasporic consciousness. Known as “the artist who paints without a paintbrush”, she creates mixed media installations by reinterpreting everyday materials through the accumulation of objects. By combining traditional craftsmanship and digital technology, she creates work that consider perceptual habits and preconceptions on the chosen objects and subjects, expressing the themes of women and race.

Red studied at the University of Melbourne. Her work has been exhibited at H Queens in Hong Kong, the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, World Economic Forum in Davos and Anchorage Museum in Alaska. Collectors of her work include JP Morgan Chase Bank and actor Jackie Chan. Her art has been featured on publications including Wall Street Journal, TIME, and New York Times. Sotheby’s Institute has named her one of the “11 art world entrepreneurs you should know”. Tatler Magazine has named her one of Asia’s most influential voices in 2020.

Red is currently working on her first solo exhibition titled “Future Relics”, featuring a series of unique paintings using the iconography of Chinese classical art to express the themes of women, femininity and female sensibility in the 21st century.


The Brush and I

Ever since Aoi picked up her calligraphy brush at the age of 6, she has been searching for herself through the brush. After years of study and training under the Master, she discovered that calligraphy is, for her, a form of self-expression. Traveling across the world with her brush, she has been on a journey to express and communicate her voice, poetry, visions, music, cultural heritage, identity - and leaving lasting traces on blank papers.

Showcasing her recent works, Aoi will share stories about her brushes, and their journeys together.

About Aoi Yamaguchi

Aoi Yamaguchi

Born and raised in Hokkaido, Japan, Aoi Yamaguchi has been trained to master the basics of calligraphy by learning under the Master Zuiho Sato since the age of 6, while refining her knowledge and skills. She is a recipient of numerous awards including the First Place prize from the Minister of Education at 44th Asahi Calligraphy Nationwide School Exhibit, Superior First Place at 33rd National Students Calligraphy Exhibition and others that are known as the supreme prizes at competitive public exhibitions. As a noteworthy event, she was nominated to participate in the group, 4th Hokkaido Elemen­tary and Junior High Students Visit to China in 2000, representing the country of Japan and participated in calligraphy exchange sessions at the Palace of Pupils of China.

Since she landed in the United States in 2004, she has performed and exhibited her works in many galleries, museums, universities and festivals in the United States, across Europe, and Japan. Her works show her exploration in juxtaposing the traditional East­ern classics and her contemporary artistic expressions, as well as her unique ambition of transforming the two-dimensional art of Japanese Calligraphy into the art of physical expression through performances. She has collaborated with artists from various disci­plines such as music, sound art, dance, fashion, flower arrangement, cuisine, e-textile, digital media technology and many others to bring her vision to life. She travels across the world to spread the knowledge of Japanese calligraphy to people through workshops and talks supported by Japanese embassies and foundations. Currently residing in Venice, California, Yamaguchi continues her work on her conceptual calligraphy installa­tions, exhibitions, and performances as she continues to push the boundaries of tradi­tional Eastern classics and contemporary artistic expression.


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