More about Chinese Old Prints

Something more on the last post on a new style of folklore prints in China. In the example I gave, the scene depicts characters in the fashion of the Republic period, with men wearing Western-style hats, and the woman in fringed shagged hairstyle. The inscriptions on the top right-hand corner tells of a story reminiscent of one of Aesop’s fables, ‘The Boy who Cried Wolves’: Continue reading →

Old Prints from China

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王樹村編著,《楊柳青墨線年畫》, 頁40。 出版日期:1980年06月第1版

I’m studying popular prints of China and came across this rather refreshing one that does not copy from old styles. Instead of using fables as subject matter and character names as the title, this new style of prints is very straightforward about the content – a moral teaching on the ‘disadvantages’ of lying.

Picasso’s Vision of Women

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This exquisite bronze model of Jacqueline Roque (?) by Picasso exemplifies the ingenuity of the artist. She’s like a goddess, with its lightness, its grace and the elegant contour of her head seen from every angle.

Read this (marketing) blog on Picasso’s Many Talents, whose multifaceted talents seem to speak to this photo

The Aesthetic of Big Data (3)

I spent a fair amount of time in the last post on this topic to examine the shortfalls of big data memory, especially in its inability to engender human identity and therefore a coherent subjectivity. Without that, I argued, it is impossible to form any meaningful relationship with the world. This may sound phenomenological, but essential to our discussion of big data aesthetics, especially when we put it within a larger context of the recent threat from big data insurgence, namely that a lot of our daily activities are being dictated by empirical analysis of conceivable data to a point where our aesthetic experience is greatly diminished. Continue reading →

Walls to Fall

‘You see here? It’s part of a graffiti work,’ explained my friend while showing me her collection of fridge magnets from around the world. ‘A shame it isn’t the entire piece and I can’t tell what the message was sprayed on the wall. But I imagine it’s something to do with freedom and taking down the wall.’ She was holding a piece of concrete with faded paint on one side and mounted to a magnet on the other. A small plaque attached underneath says ‘Berlin Wall fragment’, indicating its origin and history.

How apt, I thought, that a genre born out of the countercultural movement to dismantle the wall between art institutions and popular culture becomes the face of a wall whose symbolic power resides in its demolition. And how interesting, that despite the historic fall, the wall’s power to separate still defines the existence of street art today.

Continue reading →

Eat, Play and Paint like a True Epicurean

For Li Jin, it’s either food or woman, and such devotion to sensual pleasure makes him a devout epicurean. His love for good food is well documented in his often diaristic works, depicting again and again all sorts of gastronomic delight: enticing seafood, fat-reeking meat, sashimi platter, grill on sticks, plump peaches, grapes on vines or big round turnips. When he doesn’t paint food, he paints himself and other people, mostly women, and all manner of them: naked, scantily clad, fully dressed, posing like Olympia, dancing Matissesque, picnicking sur l’herbe, fornicating or simply being. Continue reading →

Ideological Clean Slate – China and the New Generation

‘Cenozoic’ – a geological term referring to a new era where mammals prevail. It comes from Greek kainos + zōion, meaning ‘new animals’, because the extinction of many other organisms allowed mammals to greatly diversify and populate during that period.

Perhaps it was this annihilation of the old and the birth of the new that critic Yin Jinan had in mind when he coined the term xin sheng dai (the New Generation) to describe a group of Beijing-based artists born in the 1960s. Their departure from the then predominant mode of contemporary art was evidenced in the ‘China/Avant-Garde’ exhibition. Continue reading →