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Vagina calligraphy artist banned from Chinese art community

Sun Ping's controversial performance art videos drew enough serious criticism that he was thrown out of the China Artists Association

An artist who created a performance art video featuring a woman doing traditional calligraphy using her vagina has had his membership revoked from China’s government-led artist association.

Speaking on WeChat, the China Artists Association announced that Sun Ping, also known as member 3685, had been banned by the group. They claimed that “sexual calligraphy” was “vulgar”, had “an adverse effect” and brought “considerable damage” onto Chinese society, as well as the association’s repute, while also defiling the tradition of calligraphy.

Sun Ping, the 63-year-old artist from Heilongjiang in northeast China, created “Unknown Tao” in 2006, a multimedia performance art piece which involved a partially naked woman writing traditional Chinese texts out using a calligraphy brush in her vagina. Photographs and footage of the performance have since circulated. He’s been a member of the China Artists Association since 1985 and has been creating sexual activity for years. It’s only now that the association is acting, they reported, because his work is travelling abroad.

Speaking to the Global Times in 2010, Sun Ping said: “People who look with a perspective that is merely sexual, will immediately criticise and thus miss its deeper meaning and message.”

A spokesperson for the organisation told Sixth Tone that artists in their community had creative freedom within the boundaries of “ideological and moral quality”. “Sun Ping has just had too adverse an effect on the art world,” they said.

Users on WeChat were pretty divided about the decision. Some saw the funny side, while others showed their disdain for the misuse of China’s “most quintessential treasures”.

So should this delicate art form be sidelined by an arguably strait-laced community or should they get with the vagina-brushing times? Fear not, sexual calligraphy lovers, Sun Ping can always apply to the org again. Fingers and brushes crossed.