During this wave of realism in China, her paintings were recognized for their intimate and unassuming approach and exuding sensitivity, fragility, dignity and sincerity.
Yu has remarked that she has learned much from religious art, but she does not believe in God. Her vision is entirely humanistic, and far from hopeful. Her corpse-like subjects—painted from pictures she found online—are victims of China’s epidemic of “sleeping sickness.” The pressures of modern life are so exhausting, Yu Hong says, that people nod off wherever they can find a few minutes and a little space: on trains, footpaths, benches, on beds in furniture stores, under parked trucks. “People are tired and anxious,” she explains.
Yu studied oil painting at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing in the 1980’s, then graduated with a post-graduate degree from the oil painting department in 1996. She currently lives and works in Beijing, China.