A Romantic Person

scroll painting on xuan paper
750 x 33 cm, 2010

This scroll is a literary form of expression.
The parts of words and images occupy a large area in the painting, which depicts the family matters of a family living in Yutian Xincun. The words often act as an aside to the painting. The painting style borrows from that of Chinese classical painting, more precisely speaking, the handling of the brushstrokes and the color emulates the styles of Qian Shunju of the Yuan Dynasty and Qiu Ying of the Ming Dynasty. It evokes the desolate feelings found in Qian’s work and the accessibility of Qiu’s work.
Both the sense of desolation and the accessibility are the keys to the aesthetic and literary functions of the scroll. This is also an attempt to make purely stylized work a kind of self-contradiction, to justify the weaknesses embodied in human nature.
Yutian Xincun is a gathering point for the citizens of Hongkou District in Shanghai and it is also the largest residential area of shanghai. Built in 1957, it was meant to house the staff of Quyang Hospital, Quyang Power Supply Bureau and other national work units. It used to be a three storey building, which became four storeys in 1958. The ceilings were 3.5 meters high and the structure was of a typical style in Shanghai with two doors opening onto the same hallway which would house two families.
The style is typical of Socialist high-density housing – which is basically no style. Osmanthus trees and tropical plants grow everywhere and the housing estate is equipped with a first aid station, convenience store and senior’s activity center.
Though Shanghai is supposed to be an “international cosmopolitan city,” its soul is embodied in these communities: they are not sexy; they are not romantic, but they are practical.
This scroll should not be seen as “making a work.” This “painting” part of this work serves to clearly express an idea. The English elements which are added are translated just for the purpose of translating. And the “literature” element is only that of a personal diary. Putting them together serves as a collage. What I want to convey is “a lack of research.”

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