The perpetual existence of spirit and the essence of painting
Visual art and retinal art
The art before and during the Renaissance period could be considered as visual art, including Egyptian mural painting, Greek mural painting, Roman mural painting, the medieval painting and the painting before the Renaissance. Chinese painting can also be looked as visual art. On one hand, visual art comes from nature, such as Giotto in the early period of the Renaissance; on the other hand, the characteristics of visual art are independent from the nature in terms of the factors and self-determination of painting. What is retinal art? As far as I see, after Caravaggio, the entire European painting system turned gradually to the expression of the reflection of eyeballs about the outside world. That is to say, it is a kind of art to express the characteristics of the retina of human being. This is a kind of complete imitation of what reflection of the eyeballs on the outside lights, colors and other factors in nature. As far as I know, this kind of art, from Caravaggio to the nineteenth century, had occupied a considerable proportion in European art. Let me take a typical example, the painting of Vermeer was almost a complete imitation and depiction on the objects. This kind of art had reached its peak in the nineteenth century. This kind concept was also the effect of naturalism in painting, the strength of painting is more focused on the retina’s dependence on nature and on the imitation and depiction relations. The significance in such an advanced time with photographs, movies and computers, all these media are retinal art. What is the way for painting media to go in such a time? How should painting maintain its independence? Personally, I think maintaining the visual characteristics of painting may be a good direction in keeping one’s intrinsic characteristics in painting.
The respectability of painting
I have observed the overall picture generated by the main stream western art in the 20th century. I have such a feeling that the pictures of the 20th century were full of post-industrialism, terror and despair and they made people feel uneasy. The most pervasive phenomenon is that people lost their respect to art. If it is compared to the arts of the past thousands years in human history, I keep skeptical to the alarming function of this kind of picture. In my opinion, during the past thousand years, painting had been critical or even very critical, because it had represented the things related to people’s belief or had expressed the essential thoughts and feelings of human being. As for such kind of work, I need not propose too many examples. These are what was lost in the 20th century . From my point of view, if painting is to have an important role in people’s heart, there should be a group of important artists, who can revitalize painting to the progress of expressing the essential feelings and psychological behavior of human being with their outstanding talents.
“A trip to ten countries” in 2000, along the order of the western cultures, I traveled to Egypt, Greece, Italy, France, Germany and other countries respectively. I called that trip “a trip to ten countries”. I felt that the plastic arts were great and lucky. During that trip, I could completely find the achievements of plastic arts created during the past thousand years and the relations between each other. In this regard, music and literature seem to be much more difficult to perceive, but, with the plastic arts, you can see from the earliest to the latest achievements. We can clearly feel the venation of the plastic arts growing process as well as its value. During my trip to the ten countries, I observed the great developing path of plastic art in the past thousand years and its supportive function on human being. From my point of view, this point has been gradually interrupted in the 20th century, which, is abnormal. From my point of view, the great venation should be continued. Nowadays, what human being long for in their hearts are those great arts, which can play greater supportive roles in people’s lives, which can reflect the confidence and the great psychological behavior and the relatively bright value part of human being. The art in the 20th century simply expressed the schizophrenia, mania, uneasiness and vacuity as well as insignificant depiction of personalization. This kind of art has serious deficiencies and limitations. Should the 20th century be proud of schizophrenia and self-torture? Should the 20th century use a narrow language to cope with art achievements of the past thousand years?
My recent pursuit of art
During the recent years, I have given up the secular factors in painting, and have emphasized the complanation and essential characteristics of painting. I pursue the perpetuity of painting and the enhancing of spiritual life and I try my best to give painting a more powerful and spiritual strength. Having created more than 30 works, I take them as a kind of response to the phenomenon of the loss of universal spiritual value. I seek in these works the perpetual existence of painting and the spirit of humanity and choose and practise a most advanced, everlasting and polished plastic way.
My new work
These works are not created for a glance by people; they have the feature of durability. In the work, I revitalized the ever existing respectable characteristics of certain type of painting. The endeavors that I made are not for creating an equal value to the secular time; I made the endeavors for a deeper thing with universal value. I paid my attention to the overall history of human being and from which I obtained what I think is valuable. Through these works, I expressed the complete improvement in mind and made these works become the mark of strict rationality and the existence of human belief. Maybe I would be deemed to be lonely because I did not do focus on market importance, nor did I chase the shallow concepts in fashion. Therefore, these works have expressed what I longed for all the time and they can withstand everlasting gaze. In these works, I have discussed the best-known ways of plastic arts in extensive meaning, and have built a personal feeling for art.
Ever lasting art
My art is not prepared for the first sight appreciation. I have nurtured certain durable and lasting essence in painting. The durable art is always unaccepted at the initial phase but it explores a great existence. I wish I could create the art that can be appreciated for a long time. I seek for the most advanced form of art , the art of the foremost and non-superficial techniques. In the simplest and strict visual forms, I seek the painting and spirit again, which is totally a new kind of painting. I disdain the pervasive secularization and degeneration of humanity in my own life style.
The surface layer of painting
On the surface layer of paintings, I have realized a kind of mural painting that can “take breath”， in order to avoid the royal court genre of superficial language. I hope these paintings can own a kind of mural painting elements, so I adopt very strict framework and make use of the special capacity of tempera. At present, people’s vision is becoming in trance and superficial. The aesthetic results made by the smooth surface of industrial materials in advertisements and life have become a visual habit of human being. I am infatuated with a kind of soil like painting, which is approachable, simple and pure. I am also apt to the feeling of time of marbles. Opal marble is my favorite, which makes me feel a sense of sublimation.
The intrinsic value
At present time, I think the deepest change of human being is that people are losing the sense of intrinsic value rather rapidly. The reflection of contemporary art on this change is the appearance of various kinds of abnormal arts that reflect on the reality at emergent moments. In fact, I think what this reality really needs to the positive people that insist on the intrinsic value and the respectful art, as well as the persistence and enhancing on certain valuable spirit of human being. This is the most challengeable response to the secular tide. I believe that from the remote times, the fundamental value of human being in all civilizations of the world is almost the same. Various dangers of human being in contemporary lives are actually the reflection of loss of this kind of value. In the fashion-sought background, I have found the degeneration of art belief and the ostentation and hubris in chasing of fame and gain.
My painting style has returned to the early calm and quiet status. I am seeking for a critical aspect of human spirit, while the entire contemporary art has been trapped into the depraved end-day scene. What I explore and seek for is the supportive spiritual concepts ever existing in mankind’s history. Perhaps there are only a handful of them, but they do exist essentially. My humble efforts are not for creating something with the same value of this secular time, but for something deeper with universal value. I made responses to the feeling of calm and solemn in early years by these seemingly venerable characters.