策 展 人：廖雯
艺 术 家:Artists索予桐Suo Yutong、吴雪Wu Xue、许静宇Xu Jingyu、苏亚碧Su Yabi、靳卫红Jin Weihong、林菁菁Lin Jingjing、黃百箬Huang Bairuo
Opening : January 10, 2010 3-6pm
VISYTING HOURS：10 January - 10 May 2010
Address:LDX Contemporary Art Center Exhibition Hall 1
1995年，我以“女性方式”为概念，提示出这种现象。如林天苗（Lin Tianmiao）的棉线缠绕，潘缨（Pan Ying）的水墨带子，施惠（Shi Hui）的密密麻麻的纸卷，蔡锦（Cai Jin）的蚕食般笔触，感觉上呈现生命的无限性繁衍状，而方法上则类似不间断的手工编织，个人感觉在单一而繁复的手工过程中，即时地释放和凝结到“作品”中，探讨女性心理与手工劳作之间的对应关系，以及持续的手工劳作过程对于情感表达的意义。
这种方式在另一些女艺术家的作品中，得到更为纯粹和个人化的体现。如路青（Lu Qing）细小的方格染色、杜婕（Du Jie）不间断的花样线、马嬿泠（Ma Yan-ling）的网状线，更为彻底抛弃了“形”，直接提出了笔触本身，越简约越重复，心手的对应关系也越直接，每一笔很类似手工的一个动作（我称为“类编织笔触”），手工劳作过程的静心意义显得很突出。对一种艺术方式而言，到此已到了极地。
Mind In Turmoil, Hand Better Busy -
Creating a frame of mind with art work
similar to handwork
Liao Wen Xiaopu,Songzhuang
December 27, 2009
Many women including myself have had the following very familiar experience: so many thoughts welling up in our minds difficult to describe and understand… however, as soon as we set ourselves to handwork like knitting, we inevitably calm down. For more than a decade, I have had a close contact with woman artists. Although they are different in terms of frame of mind, the way they experience it is often the same- unrealistic, disorderly, no regular patterns, no times and space, disorganized and fragmented, piling up and overlapping each other, The feeling of “turmoil and entanglement” is our shared psychological image. Resorting to a kind of handwork makes it possible to link the hand to heart to explore continuously the expression of this psychological image has been a favorite way of woman artists with which I have been infatuated as well.
In 1995, I put forward the concept of “woman’s way”, pointing out this phenomenon. The twining cotton threads of Lin Tianmiao, the water and ink ribbons of Pan Yin, thickly dotted paper rolls of Shi Hui, the nibbling touch of Cai Jin, feeling like a reflection the unrestricted multiplying of life itself. The method ressembles that of sustained hand knitting or weaving. In this pure and complicated repeated activity, the feeling is immediately released or condensed into the « work of art ». This is a reflection of the relationship between a woman’s psychology and handwork and of the significance of sustained hand work process to the expression of feelings and emotions.
In the works of art of certain other woman artists, this way of expression is illustrated in a more pure and personalised way. The coloured tiny squares of Lu Qing,
the uninterrupted varied threads of Du Jie, the netted threads of Ma Yan-lnng more categorically abandonned the « shape », more concerned with the touches which correspond more directly with the heart. The significance of « calming down the heart » of the handwork process is becoming more prominent. As far as a form of artistic expresssion is concerned, this has reached its extreme.
Ten years ago, in my research on Western Woman’s Art, I discovered that they too had introduced sewing and stitching, embroidering, knitting and weaving and other feminine handwork elements into the the expression of art . However, although both borrowing from the traditional way of handwork, the nature is entirely different. The point of departure of western famale artists is more related to « strategy » of feminisme aiming at breaking down traditionally defined barriers between the so called ‘‘superior art’’ (spiritual, masculine) and ‘‘ inferior art’’ (handwork, feminine) in order to explore the possibilities and dynamisme of contemporary art language. I also discovered that words like“female”、“female art”、“feminisme”、“sex difference”frequently used when I do art critic for female art(not limited to female art) are inseparably related to western cultural blood, therefore, when observing the art phenomena deriving from Chinese cultural blood, basically I cannot go deeper or closer.
The Chinese are convinced that « the world does not have shapes originally, all shapes are formed by heart » which means that we feel everything outside by « heart », treating everything as « life », accompanying her, showing solicitude for her, taking care of her, doting on her, telling her secrets... That is why the Chinese art, especially poem and painting is above all an illustration of the artist’s s frame of mind through the description of objects and singing of praises of the scenery. The sad people look at the objects and scenes, they feel very sad. The happy people look at the same objects and scenes, they feel very happy. It is all subjective. In this current exhibition, the artists use or partly use methods « similar to handwork », it is neither from the art notions of feminisme nor from practices of Buddhisme or Taoisme requiring strict obedience. It is more like expressing one’s « heart felt emotions and frame of mind » through describing objects and singing praises to scenery,and here it is through continulusly knitting and weaving things.
The « heart phenomena » series of Suo Yutong is composed of minuscule arc lines done by red ball pen, lively as blood silk, curly as sheep wool and infinite as fine and tender grass, every touch is like a delicate and natural wave. No specific image on the painting, but full of entangled, undulating and irregular shapes, the overall « heartfelt » atmosphere is created – sexy and pleasant, bright and stable. I used the word « created » for two reasons. First of all, the way to express the artist has chosen was out of the need and desire of her « proper frame of mind ». At first Suo Yutong used a pencil to draw, but the black and white, blurred effect made her feel fearful and uncomfortable. The not easily rubbed ballpen painting on the quite hard sketch paper, every stroke is distinct，even if overlapping the strokes the structure is still tracable. And the lively nature of red colour touched her. The seond reason I used the word « created » is because the heavy and complicated process of art work itself was purifying for the frame of mind. Suo Yutong spent three years painting this series, many pieces, the longest piece being 10 meter. The overall atmosphere is stable, perpetual with exquisite changes. As was said by herself « In this hard labour, firmness, patience and sincerity are required. You have to put your heart to every detail to every corner of the painting. I have genuinely felt inner clearness ,calm and tranquil stability in this process ».
“Pink Encirclement” by Wu Xue is wrapping up more than a hundred doll “babies” with crochet and pink cotton threads. She has chosen to express the sentiment of being played with, being fragile . Pink is ambiguous between the real and the false yellowish pink. Because of the “tightening up” of the crochet and the body shaping, the doll babies knitted and woven for almost a year look as if they were wearing the sexy close fitting undergarment, or look like newly born tiny animals not yet with the protective hair. What is presented before our eyes is the falsely childish and tender, fragile, estranged, embarrassed and nervous, somewhat invisibly cruel but not bloody. This is exactly the frame of mind of Wu Xue. In her own words: “the estrangement of life” and “ the concern for hurt”.
Xu Jingyu’s « WW World » is a « world » stemming from her heart. This world is at the same time realistic and unrealistic. The columns are entwined with red and blue threads like « blood veins », the heart is knotted in broken bits, eggs have
sexy wings, from plump woman body coming out of mollusc, under the three leg beast there are endless breasts... full of pure desire for growth ,fantasy and phantasm.
In «Journey to the West», there is the World of Buddha, the World of Immortal, the World of Heaven, the World of Devil and the World of Earth. In “Harry Potter” there is the Magic World. That young people keep fantasy is quite usual. What is particular about this WW World is that this all mixed up world of “stories dangers love of fantasy secrets queerness strangeness” (Xu Jingyu’s words) is entirely ‘‘ seamed ’’ by hand needle work. Especially the all entangling, twining and seamed “edges” are all over a certain part of the body as dense as blood veins look like “mark of foetus”, reinforcing the growing and twining impression of this world of Heart.
Su Yabi’s « Memory of Daily Life » ‘‘have always been trying to memorize episodes of my life through visual diary. On the canvas, I try to restore the relaxation and simplicity to the scenes I have experienced with very controlled colours. ’’ (Su Yabi’s words) In recent years, Su Yabi’s way of memorizing her routine is to use metal filaments to weave the small objects like clothes and skirts, scarves, combs and umbrellas etc which she had painted for many years into vertical hollowed out works of art. The « reality » seems to have been taken out from the objects, yet the visible and touchable metal filament, the vague but recognisable form of the object is evidently still linked to daily life. This false and true image is closer to « memory ». Su Yabi said that the weaving process ‘‘returned many memories to me’’ and wove tnto her daily frame of mind as well.
Jin Weihong’s « Solitude » series is the most traditional water and ink painting. In this exhibition, it is the only work of art which does not resort to method similar to handwork. Jin Weihong said that ‘‘the foothold and point of interest in my creation is the corresponding relationship between myself and the tradition. ’’，My understanding of this ‘‘corresponding relationship’’ is certainly not only in terms of water and ink painting methods, it is at a deeper level, more relevant to profound, delicate and perpetual frame of mind. In ancient times, the aristocratic women, especially those with outstanding talent and sentiment, feel so terribly lonly, secret, exquisite and fragile in an extremely confined and secluded idle life. This is the so called‘‘ melancholy of leisure’’. Qin Weihong has been painting « solitude » for many years sustainably and repeatedly expressing one’s particular frame of mind- idle but lonly, free but helpless. It is the modern version of ‘‘ melancholy of leisure’’ true for a lot of gifted women.
« I want to be with you » by Lin Qingqing. She cruelly took away one of the two ‘‘ intimate’’ lovers on the marriage photo, moved it away and ‘‘ seamed ’’ it to another space of the marital bed, creating a ‘‘vacancy ’’ A short distance away but poles apart. The marital bed remains elegant and tender, the sweet smile of the lovers on the marrige photo is the same, but ‘‘the embracing and the snuggling up has been orientated to coldness, morbidity, disorder, forgery and absolute sense of non belonging’’(Lin Qingqing’s words). This was ‘‘ruthlessness created by man’’. Lin Qingqing did hundreds of this kind of work of art therefore she underwent hundreds of times this same experience which came from a real life experience. But I think the process of repeated experience has set her free of the heartfelt knot created by hurt.
The Wenchuan Earthquake all of a sudden triggered Huang Bairuo ‘s thoughts about ‘‘how to represent the joining up of people’s emotions ’’. She began to put into practice her project of « Meeting One Another with Seaming Destiny » on 1st of January 2009. ‘‘Meeting’’ and ‘‘seaming’’ in Chinese language are pronounced in the same way but written differently . This was a continuous performance art work. The artist ‘‘chose at random and casually an appropriate person on an appropriate occasion’’ letting ‘‘him’’ or ‘‘her ’’ trace the form of his or her ‘‘heart’’ as it appeared in his or her heart on a piece of red cloth, then cut the form out from the cloth and ‘‘seamed’’ it where he or she had wanted, gave it back to him or her with ‘‘blessing’’. What is surprising is that at everybody’s heart the form of ‘‘heart’’ is considerably different, it could look like a tree leaf, a water drop, a hot pepper, a flower, and even a cross. The place chosen for seaming it is quite different too. It could be the jacket, the trousers, the shoes, the socks, the bags, the toy pets and various kinds of objects. Every ‘‘heart’’ is permeated with the particular smell, reasons, stories , characters and sentiments of ‘‘this particular person’’. People are brought together randomly thanks to this ‘‘act of performance’’, love and blessing spread and taken to more people. In China we often say that ‘‘If we meet each other it is the destiny which wants us to meet’’ . As was said earlier, ‘‘meeting’’ and ‘‘seaming’’ in Chinese language are pronounced in the same way but written differently. The destiny according to Huang Bairuo is ‘‘seaming ’’, her frame of mind has‘‘ gone through ups and downs and many turns’’ (Huang Bairuo’s words) . What she ‘‘seamed’’ was her destiny and her frame of mind. A moment ago, she called and said that she had just seamed the three hundred one, this time it was a driver from Songzhuang and he had chosen to seam his ‘‘heart’’ on his head cushion in the driver’s seat, what an important place !
I was moved. I wish that everybody, not only artist, found one’s own way of creating his or her frame of mind.