Under Construction//在建设中 2003-2015

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Paul Klee, “Angelus Novus”

 

The 21st century’s aesthetic is inseparable from the accumulation of things, and the destruction of the same. The same aesthetic resists the idea of an absolute, yet the idea that all the cities of the world have been laid foundation, post, and lintel upon a fire-filled rock that is hurtling at speeds of 100,000 miles per hour around a massive ball of fire floating in the heavens 93 million miles away. This century has merely increased its deposits, and re-arranged its focus since Klee perceived a storming Paradise and Calvino an Earth in which “inferno” is boiling. We are involved in something—life and history—that always seems to have been just on the verge of catastrophe.

The “Under Construction” body of artworks and illustrations are two dimensional organic explorations of architectural forms, relationships built of marks and color fields that are held loosely together in a structure suggested by scaffolding and semi-transparent cloth. The imagery and palette are taken from the building sites of the urban Chinese landscape in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. The buildings’ forms suggest figurative qualities, dream cities.  The explorative, creative nature of the painting and drawing process is reflected in the layering of transparent media, inspired by the muted light of an acetylene torch’s glow deep within cloth-swaddled building shells, or as the lightbulb illuminates a migrant worker’s transitional home on the 23rd floor of an unfinished high-rise.  The creative and playful use of liquid media in some sense allows a naturally selective process to interact with intuitive decisions to edit and define the form that each drawing or painting will take during the “building” process.

 

When so much of our past is being either discarded or shunned, or perhaps relegated to knowledge suited only for classification instead of application, can we see one angelic hand —the Editor —furiously at work amidst the carnage of environment and society? Can we perceive the other hand —the Creator —as it beckons to us? What stories still resound within our hearts?

 

《建设中》这组画追踪建筑的全过程:地基、主体、外立
面。我想建立起一种内在的重力结构,用透明的色彩包裹
起来,看上去这些建筑会晃动,有悖常理。这些想象出来
的作品,不是要画一座明亮的高楼或商业大厦。而是试图
描绘建造过程中一些有意思的瞬间。

A selection of photos of high rises and night markets, 2003-2005:

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