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Challenging the Relatively Simple Interpretation of Realistic Figurative Patterns - Gao Zi Jin

Seashores, wet stones, and landscapes of changing clouds – Jeng Jundian revisits the themes of last year’s “Another Day” solo exhibition, dubbing his well-polished, colour line paintings with a more realistic approach to make skies of colour to leap out of frames and spread into exhibition walls. Foundational layers of yellow in his paintings have earned their place in the repertoire of his colour line style, and the realism with which he depicts landscapes has refined his stylistic syntax, providing records of images dissipating into gridlines or vanishing into abstraction.

This year’s exhibition, “Details”, serves as a wrap-up of the gridwork concept laid out in his last exhibition. “Details” could hardly be encapsulated in a few words; more than just an application of different styles on a same theme using the smallest unit of composition, it is a thread unravelling the distinctive marks left behind Jeng’s train of thoughts. In an effort to strengthen the bond formed with his colour-line technique, the artist endeavours to resolve intricacies in the properties of colour lines, therefore challenging any relatively simple interpretation that could have been assigned to such realistic and figurative patterns (such as those we can find in plants or on curtains). It is in the details that we are able to delimit the essence in Jeng’s work.

When looking at his still life paintings, his travel landscapes or his family portraits; one can find the penchants of a man, his life experiences, his random encounters and the ones he projects. But the real character of Jeng’s creation is nestled in the grammatical structures of his paintings where the plot is diluted and hidden behind the curtain of language. For example, in a grouping of works, one large size painting appears to encompass all the elements of his personal developments that other works of the same subject matters select and re-use, much like the ways a writer would employ short stories, prose or novels to achieve different desired outcomes all the while maintaining connections between those pieces. (…)

In the 1990s, Jeng’s paintings were presented with a binary composition: flat blocks of colour on one side and organic lines on the other. But with his colour line technique, lines of different angles and lengths repeat and intertwine to create images along a rationality verging on abstraction. Since then, the artist has continued to assemble and refine the grammatical composition of his paintings, separating them away from the moods or details of his paintings and allowing them to exist independently and meaningfully. We come to understand human thinking as indivisible and non-classifiable, consciousness as an extremely complex arrangement of thoughts, blended together and re-emerging interchangeably. Those thoughts may be complete, verbal, but also vague, fragmentary, pre-verbal level consciousness. Jeng’s work is constructed on these mirror oppositions, like parallel lines that never meet, but it also contains interdependencies, coexistences, tangled threads, entire plotlines.

Original text in Chinese.

Published in ARTCO (典藏.今藝術 ) on 11/30/2015


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