chen danqing

Our antecedents painted in the styles of their forefathers by looking at their original works, whereas our peers paint by looking at reproductions, where one may only grasp a pseudo experience. I painted this series of book is to agree with this pseudo-experience, and from which I am translating it into a true one. This true experience is discounted and questionable, but is the ones that most of us partake. So, I am giving it a voice about this pseudo-experience, which you’ve had and so did everyone else.


When you look at an art catalogue of Dong Qichang or Frans Hals, you wouldn’t be skeptical of neither, when in fact both of their works can be found in art museums. According to Walter Benjamin’s view, you wouldn’t see it because there is only one original for each of their works. The Beethoven you hear is not the original music of the maestro, neither would any conducting of the music, but the disc or record. Modern communication makes you think you’ve seen or heard these works, however these are pseudo experiences. My paintings aim at agreeing with such experience and the paradox they entail. 


Alternatively, they are the so-called “citations”. Apparently Ulysses has many “citations”, Walter Benjamin, Roland Barthes who were privately ambitious: cited other’s writings in order to compile into a novel. Your choice of using citations suggests you already have the awareness of a writer. You connect, order and displace with the other parts – it’s like being a secretary or an editor – to provide a kind of satisfaction, at an infinite amount. My painting of these “citations”, is a process of cajoling with myself: when you paint according to “him”, I felt I become Dong Qichang, I become Franz Hals.


ma kelu

The “Ada” series marks a new phase of my art practice that can be traced back to the series of self-invented lithographs and the abstract paintings in ink and calligraphies in the 1980s, as well as, the minimalist approach to painting in “All over” from the 1990s. Perhaps there is also a connection to my current daily calligraphy practice, while it’s not exactly any of the above.


“Ada” series emphasizes on its conceptions. It tries to redefine painting by fully eliminate existing narratives, meanings, perfection, techniques, and the cliché components in a work of art. These new works attempt to abide to principles of “allowing the unexpected and meaningless to occur, the non eastern or western, and the natural to engender”.


In 2015, two of my paintings “Black heartbeat” introduced “mindless” writing by using the least painting components, that process of experimenting made the effort of realizing today’s “Ada” series possible. While I am in search of the boundary between a greater possibility and its cultural symbolism, it avoids simple categorization.


“Ada” series emphasizes on homogeneity yet every painting would represent its own form and sense, so it inclines to show “natural traces”. These are undoubtedly the outcome of notions and concepts, whereas the calligraphic components come from my DNA and blood, they pushed the conception of my painting to a new step.


“Ada” is a title given to me from a friend, I like the uniqueness of this title, so I am using it, which to me, is also in between meaning and meaninglessness, it can be poised, mindlessness, and a trigger.


feng lianghong

Every painting is like going on an adventure that is filled with surprises, anxiety and the unknown.


My painting often begins with mindlessly applying paint onto the canvas, and from there I would judge and decide what is to keep and what to efface in order to adjust the impromptu details and brushworks from the image, so I can find balance between the entirety and its details, the dynamics and its intensity of the image in order to generate the experience of viewer. Abstract painting is like composing music that gives musical notes meaning. I wish to evade subjective conscience and experience prior to painting any work, so every work can embody its own natural effect and detailed structures.


“No man ever steps into the same river twice (Heraclitus)”. Likewise, each of my painting continues to transform my way of viewing and judgment.


Painting is my life, and like Sisyphus, whose tireless attitude towards his work is every painter’s inescapable creative state, that requires courage and confidence.