Multimedia artist feels sense of freedom as he returns to basics
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.