Shao Yan has rich exploration in his art practice. He is trying to promote his works from moderncalligraphy to abstractive art. He involved his status and understanding of life in to every time of his creativity. And he developed his unique writing style to be behavior art. Finally he mixed the trace of ink behavior and water to be art works.
Shao Yan actually is walking on a way from same sourcing and same ending of writing and painting. It is involving calligraphy into painting. He uses the natural power of water to spill off the varied line to become a picture. I think it is his contribution to make water, a kind of substance to play more important role in art work.
He is a contemporary artist successfully foregoing from traditional calligraphy, from his own special background and his current feeling, from China art. Shao Yan paint emphasis on life experience, emphasizing the outbreak of an instant emotional expression. He works without sense of design, it is very meaningful.
The Hybrid painting
Thoughts after watching NanFangs recent works
I think Shao Yan can become research specimens of Chinese contemporary art in the moment.He is a very natural outcome of the development of30 years development of modern and contemporary art. His art contains many elements of Chinese culture that has been conversedvery good, very witty.
In recent years, as an artist, Nanfang has always taken his son, xiaoyu, as the protagonist in the painting. If in the previous stage, he has expressed his unique feelings towards happiness by use of the child as motif. Then, it should be said that he expresses the multi-angle understanding to the complex human nature by use child as his motif. As a result the complex and complicated humanity are skillfully integrated into the childs innocence By this kind of processing, the audience can understand the deep meaning through the superficial picture in the context of the premise of their own life experiences.
He entered into traditional calligraphy and exceeded it. He entered into modern calligraphy and escaped from it again. He entered into writing image on paper, installation of writing image, behavior art of writing image, and then he exceeded them all. In the style of art, as well as in the idea of art, he has no obsession yet there is no obstacle for him.
The time we live in has been called the digital age, which will also make the phenomenon of mechanical reproduction become increasingly serious. Judged from Nanfangs works, we can see he not only searches for new elements from the changes of the times, but also sticks to the hand-crafted values. It should be said that is the effective insistence of humanity for he stresses on artistic expression of consistence between mind and hand. He has become more and more conscious to abandon the appearance of the photo and turn to the pursuit of the nature of painting. Undoubtedly, this kind technique has changed the photographic images into a painterly, metaphoric and poetic picture with appropriate aesthetic distance from the reality. Of course, whats more important is Nanfang has connected personal feelings with current historic event together very well to create a new type of painting with strong subjective to come close to the viewers. As for the pursuit of painting nature, according to my understanding, due to Nanfangs free and open mind, he boldly combine the elements of Western expressionism paintings, traditional folk paintings, and cartoon drawing skillfully, which give his latest works with the bright colors, relaxed style and exaggerated forms. On the other hand, his works maintains good relations between the East and West cultures, between tradition and modernity, between the elegance and popularity. It should be said thats the reason I call NanFangs latest works hybrid paintings. Compared with the previous works, these latest works has higher artistic values and personal character.
Kuspit, one of U.S. contemporary art theorists, has published one book with the name of The end of Art. In this book, he strongly rebuked the so-called theory of The End of Art. According to him, the post modern art over emphasized the expression of ideas but ignored the form of art itself after Cezanne. The trend has largely widened the distance between art and the general public, but also endangered the status of art itself. The contemporary artist should pay extra attention to the art techniques as well as their older generations in order to change the degeneration states of post-art, and then bring it back to new vitality adapting to times. I guess, in Nanfangs deep heart, he must agree with kuspits opinion. If not, he would not reread the mastery works of Caravaggio, Cornwall Ya, Shamsuddin for nutrition. I still remember Mr. Li Xianting once wrote an article, titled The important thing is not art several years ago. This article becomes extremely valuable and reasonable with such impacts when many artists are not concerned about the expression of artistic ideas and humans existence situation.
Shao Yans art has gone through three stages. Id like to use the word marvelous to summarize his few characteristics calligraphyfor his first stage, the word mysterious to summarize his multi-characteristics calligraphy and the words miraculous wonders for his third stage.
Today, as contemporary ideas has been accepted by many artists, The important thing is art is reasonable supplement for them. It means negation of negation and led Nanfang put the artistic expression on a very important position.
Wish Nanfang create better works in artistic creation!
I would like to name Shao Yans work to be Metaphysics of ink and water, no meter it is shooting ink or abstractive ink. His art is very close with the philosophy of Lao Zi and ZhuangZi. So I want to summaries his ink art into 4 key points. The first is natural, for his shooting ink is the natural express from his heart, it is overflow of the nature of artist. The second is metaphysics, the original color of Dao is dark, deepest darkness is black. Now he paints purely by ink, I think this color lead his works to be mysticism. The third is feminine. I think the basic style of his work is feminine instead of Masculine. He emphasizes the effect of water that is the source of his life of art. The fourth is empty and calm. Compare with Polloks activity painting such like Autumn Melody whose visual effects are real and active. Shao Yans works are blank and calm. He keeps mentality of empty and calm. So I feel that his ink art is a spiritual free roam. We even can say that he represent a contemporary express of metaphysics spirit.
January 22, 2010 in Shenzhen Art Museum
I feel that Shao Yan involves locus of life even locus of soul in his series of Locus of Mind and Shooting Ink. We do not know how can he move that fast or that slow, where is the action style come from? He absolutely does it unconsciously and without any design. As an animal of culture, he made it through the influence and shape of his soul by many years writing and painting experience. We must find the relationship with writing and painting and the containing of culture in his sudden unconscious outcome. I think the status of free is a status of prescriptive within arbitrariness and lineage within creativities. This is the basement and possibilities of his art.
His art is a kind of art that has been changed to the idea of life experience and caring about society from formalism of writing images. It is a change from brush-ink centralism to water and ink material. This reform brought a rebuilding after activation by canceling the abstractedness of centered writing to painting.
I think it is very correct that Mr. Liu Xiaochunsummarized Shao Yans art by a concept of leisurely mood which is in a higher level of idea that most of the intelligences are fighting for. The most outstanding part in China culture is being protected and inherited. The reason that the tradition is great is that the intelligences always can deeply feel it. This kind of things could not been shouted out but should be experienced. In that point on, Shao Yans art is transferring such kind of information through his idea of woks.