Friday, July 29, 2011

The Art of Seeing Red

From my-favorite-gallery-I-have-yet-to-visit, the Red Gate Gallery in Beijing, I received notice of a new Chen Wenling exhibit that the gallery has curated. Wenling is a biggie in Chinese art. He is considered one of the top ten contemporary sculptors in China today. His Red Boys series were created to depict innocence and joy. The color red has been symbolic in China for near forever. The color is said to “express the sculptor’s negation of the pursuit of money and power, tension, anxiety, fear and cruelty in the adult world.” Two themes that are said to surface in Chen Wenling’s sculptures are extreme humanity and anti-materialism. Born in 1969 in Anxi, a small, remote village in Fujian province, China, Chen remembers being so poor that he grew up making figurines out of clay to entertain himself. Fortunately his parents encouraged his artistic talent and sent him to study at the Xiamen Academy of Art and Design, and then at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. Those who know Chen may link the Red Boys with one of his unusual experience. In 1996, there was an astonishing article in the Xiamen Daily newspaper, entitled “Rare and Courageous Self-Defense.” It was reported that a young couple were robbed at the beach. The man courageously defended himself and the woman, and was stabbed dozen of times. Arteries of both his wrists were cut open. The article said his body was covered with blood. The hero was none other than Chen Wenling, who luckily survived the attack. Despite this “bloody experience,” Chen’s Red sculptures appear to have no trace of hatred in them.

No comments:

Post a Comment