Published on February 29th, 2012 | by Aeris0
CHINESE CONTEMPORARY SPRING
Connoisseur Contemporary’s Chun Poon explains the themes and meaning behind the latest artworks from leading Chinese painters, Chan Yu and Li Shurui…
1. What is the meaning behind Chan Yu’s youthful subjects and dynamic overlapping technique?
The airplane in Chan Yu’s “A Kid’s Dream” series for example, reflects a dream that perhaps many of us had when we were young. The artist himself was obsessed with planes, and owning a plane or becoming a pilot is a popular childhood dream, but soon we grow up and this becomes something of a past. Yu is finding his own way to fulfill his dream by painting planes. When the overlapping plane images fly across the canvas, they look like several frames captured and joined together, from a motion picture. This is the artist’s way of representing flight, which also symbolises freedom and the continuous pursuit of his dreams.
In Yu’s recent personality series, the works stem from the concept of identity, presenting the multiple sides or ‘personalities’ of a person. By creating a vivid scene of images overlapping each other, distinguished only with their distinctive colours, he not only opens up to a new space of visual reading, but also explores and evokes new meanings from diverse points of view. When we look at James Dean for example, an iconic figure comes to mind as we recognise him as a known cultural icon. Yet, he is remotely understood. What we know is learned mainly from the movies or media. However, there are different sides to each person, as implied from Yu’s use of different, overlapping angles.
2. How does Li Shurui achieve this airbrush effect?
Li Shurui’s early inspiration was from the LED lights. She would take a photo as reference before her sketch. She has since evolved. Her paintings are no longer based on actual LED lights or neon signboards, but conceptualised in her mind. She is fascinated by the concept of optical illusion and how the eye forms visual images and like Chan Yu, with how perceptions are formed… With this in mind, she conceptualises work that creates a more sensory experience using her own free – hand airbrushing. The flat canvas may look like it’s curving outwards, simply by the placement, size and colours of her dots.
The concept is simple, but the permutations are plentiful and finalising the composition can be a complicated process. She starts with an idea, which is then transferred to a sketch and finally airbrushed dot by dot, layer by layer onto the canvas. It’s a tedious and time-consuming process, especially the colour tones. The shades are important, for how they blend or merge with each other could affect the visual outcome. A lot of final adjustments are then needed to achieve the effect of her desired optical illusions. Most recently, she started a series titled “Rorschach Test”, named after a psychological test by Swiss psychologist Hermann Rorschach.
3. Li Shurui and Chan Yu’s works are so distinctive – have others tried to pass them off?
Not that we are aware of. Both of their techniques are too difficult to replicate.
4. Is copyright for such artists getting easier to enforce in China?
It’s very common for gallery to issue a certificate to ensure the originality and authenticity of an art piece. Connoisseur Contemporary has been practicing this method for years, and we have full trust and confidence from our clients. Galleries and auction houses have their own ways of ensuring the originality of artworks and buying from a credible source is important. Buyers are also getting more savvy. For the copyright issue on image usage, so far we have not experienced any serious abuse on internet or printed publication.
5. Do you see a pop art trend in contemporary Chinese art today?
It’s a part of our lives now when our generation grows up with different popular cultures, and the exposure is becoming more intense and rapid nowadays. Having said this, we also think Chinese have their own version of pop art which is evolving and may not come in the form or presentation that we are familiar with. It’s also incorporating different and new media, in their own brand of art.
For more insights, visit:http://www.connoisseurcontemporary.com/