Mul­ti­me­dia artist feels sense of free­dom as he re­turns to ba­sics

China Daily (USA) - - LIFE - By LIN QI linqi@chi­

Art grad­u­ates are now in­creas­ingly opt­ing to cre­ate in­stal­la­tions, videos and other mixed-me­dia pieces. But You Jin is dif­fer­ent. The artist, who ma­jored in mul­ti­me­dia art, is fo­cus­ing on paint­ing — a sub­ject that he has been fas­ci­nated with since his teens.

You, 37, stud­ied graphic de­sign, video mak­ing and 3-D tech­nol­ogy at the Lu Xun Academy of Fine Arts in Shenyang, North­east China’s Liaon­ing province, be­tween 2001 and 2005.

But af­ter grad­u­at­ing, he moved to Bei­jing where he has since fo­cused on oil paint­ing, de­vel­op­ing a highly per­son­al­ized style.

You, who has ex­hib­ited at home­andabroad, is­nowset to present a solo show ti­tled The View of Hetero­to­pos, on Fri­day at the Al­ter­na­tive Space Loop gallery in Seoul, South Korea. The gallery has been pro­mot­ing avant-garde and ex­per­i­men­tal art since it was set up in 1999.

The Seoul ex­hi­bi­tion, which will run through Oct 2 and be fol­lowed by an­other show in Hong Kong, cel­e­brates You’s de­vel­op­ment as a painter over the past three years.

Speak­ing of his work, You says: “I see new chal­lenges when I com­plete a paint­ing, and feel that I can make im­prove­mentsin­mynextwork.

“Cre­at­ing on a sin­gle sur­face is most dif­fi­cult.”

He adds that paint­ing al­lows him more free­dom and in­ti­macy, when­com­pared­with graphic de­sign­ing and video pro­duc­tions, which re­quire team­work and where you need to make com­pro­mises.

He says there is no pos­si­bil­ity of the art of paint­ing dy­ing be­cause it is from here other artis­tic forms orig­i­nate.

“It is the essence of hu­man so­ci­ety, since an­cient peo­ple drew­totems.

“When you want a video, you draw story boards to pro­duce have to and not rely only on scripts.”

The ex­hi­bi­tion’s ti­tle is de­rived from French philoso­pher Michel Fou­cault’s idea of “het­ero­topias”, through which he says that peo­ple re­quire imag­i­na­tion to com­pre­hend a phys­i­cal space. Ac­cord­ing to Fou­cault, dif­fer­ent spa­ces and time zones co­ex­ist to form a new­world.

At the ex­hi­bi­tion, Fou­cault’s con­cept has been brought to life through You’s brush­work.

In his works, You re­ar­ranges frag­mented real-life scenes to cre­ate an il­lu­sory, sur­real feel­ing. In his cre­ations, You jux­ta­poses ob­jects from dif­fer­ent pe­ri­ods and worlds through which he of­fers per­spec­tives on cul­tural clashes, as well as the com­plex­ity of mod­ern life.

In For­got­ten Va­cancy, a paint­ing he did last year, You places a sofa in a set­ting that fea­tures the char­ac­ter­is­tics of tra­di­tional Chi­nese gar­den.

Throught it he pays trib­ute to clas­sic Chi­nese phi­los­o­phy on liv­ing space that has been for­got­ten as the coun­try goes global.

You says that peo­ple of his gen­er­a­tion have grown up be­ing more ex­posed to Western art and cul­ture, in­clud­ing mu­sic, movies and paint­ings, as com­pared to Chi­nese cul­tural tra­di­tions.

“The dig­i­tal age now en­ables peo­ple to learn a lot about the world. But five years ago, I got bored (with be­ing sur­rounded by too much in­for­ma­tion), so I re­turned to the roots of Chi­nese cul­ture and have found a tran­quil, en­dur­ing beauty init.”

In Help­less Dor­mancy, a work he pro­duced this year, a man sleeps in a room that is filled with desks, shelves, stairs and doors.

The com­po­si­tion of this paint­ing points to the rapid de­con­struc­tion and re­con­struc­tion of Chi­nese so­ci­ety.

Boast­ing vivid col­ors, You’s paint­ings also touch upon ur­ban is­sues like the fast pace of city life.

You says that while his pre­vi­ous work was more per­sonal and emo­tional, his lat­est cre­ations in­creas­ingly ad­dress the changes in the so­cial en­vi­ron­ment in to­day’s China.

Min Byung-jic, the col­lab­o­ra­tive di­rec­tor of Al­ter­na­tive Space Loop, who cu­rates You’s ex­hi­bi­tion, says his works fo­cus on the co­ex­is­tence of the Western fig­u­ra­tive ap­proach and the Ori­en­tal ab­strac­tion spirit, and com­bine mod­ern paint­ing tech­niques and tra­di­tional aes­thet­ics.

He says You’s paint­ings en­com­pass the ex­pe­ri­ences of China’s dra­matic eco­nomic and so­cial trans­for­ma­tion and re­veal the col­lec­tive feel­ings about these changes.

Through You’s strokes, one can also sense of rhythm.

You, who loves rock ’n’ roll and jazz, says he likes to hear sounds or voices when paint­ing.

Speak­ing of his work sched­ule, he says “I some­times feel ir­ri­tated when I have to work on pleas­ant days and can’t go out.”

He adds that his busy so­cial life and fam­ily mat­ters also put him un­der pres­sure.

“So, sounds re­ally let me re­lax and fo­cus on paint­ing.” brush feel a


Top: Chil­dren learn about wind power by watch­ing a sim­u­lated sail­ing ship move­ment at the Hangzhou Low Car­bon Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy Mu­seum. Above: Vis­i­tors cy­cle to mea­sure their car­bon dis­charge at the Low-car­bon City sec­tion of the mu­seum.


Oil paint­ing For­got­tenVa­cancy by You Jin is among the ex­hibits at his up­com­ing solo show TheView ofHetero­to­pos at the Al­ter­na­tive Space Loop gallery in Seoul.

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