Ely­sium

Xu Chong­fang’s Wa­ter­colour Fan­tasy

That's China - - Je T'aime, Dinghai - Text by / Serene Li

“Look at it closely and you tell me what you see?” Xu Chong­fang beamed with fer­vent ex­cite­ment, point­ing fran­ti­cally at a paint­ing on a messy desk piled up with what he calls ‘semi-fin­ished’ ones. His eyes were shin­ing like those of a devil-pos­sessed prophet, as if pierc­ing through me and cleav­ing me into halves.“It is Hell,” he an­nounced at the top of his voice, as if on a steroidal high.That mo­ment, the overused word ‘awe­some’ crossed my dazed mind; and I was con­vinced that there had never been a more fit­ting sce­nario in my life for the ad­jec­tive to be used. Through­out the one-hour chat I was strug­gling and fail­ing to take my eyes off the man stand­ing be­fore me. Pas­sion­ately bring­ing us into his wa­ter­colour won­der­land, Xu Chong­fang is a man whose words fill the air like the plumes of thick in­cense smoke that roll over Pu­tu­oshan – Zhoushan’s Bud­dhism ‘holy land’.

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