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【评论】CUSTODIAN OF BEAUTY

2011-03-29 16:07:59 来源:《MercedesMagazine》作者:
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  Just like real life. Only more so, and with fewer imperfections. The creative credo of Chinese artist JIANG HUAH is to convey beauty on canvas using paint and brush. His works capture the elegance of the moment.

  his canvas is a stage. In Lost inransition, one of Jiang Huan's most important works, the Chinese artist weaves together the past, present and future.It is a richly-colored masterpiece, at the heart of which a young woman is flanked by three male companions and a valiant, sword-wielding Amazon. The latter would seem to represent a being from a fantasy world, while the three men with their expectant gazes appear in costumes from the Renaissance period.

  Jiang's craving for beautiful things goes back to childhood. Born in Beijing in 1964, he found himself drawn to philosophy, literature and poetry. His oil paintings are representational - images in which the viewer comes face to face with Chinese tradition.

  One of Jiang's favorite subjects is the portrayal of femininity - delicate creatures full of grace, symmetry and virtue. He generally positions them at the center of his canvas, cloaking them in richly-embroidered silk garments, then heightening the effect by immersing them in a world of color and embellishing them with symbolicelements of lotus flowers and references to his much-loved Beijing Opera or S uzhou ballads.

  Jiang Huan creates images of enchanting beauty that have the realism of photographs and yet are something more besides. The artist intensifies what is visible by bringing to the canvas his own understanding of purity and grace. His aim is to make his subjects appear more perfect than reality itself. The artist is also inspired by the transient nature of things. Since beauty fades with age like a flower, he explains, all he can do is attempt to capture and refine such transience on canvas.

  Travel is both Jiang's passion and the source of his inspiration. He has a particular affection for Thailand and Malaysia and a fascination with America and Europe.After a visit to the Louvre in Paris brought on a lengthy bout of creative block in 1998, he devoted his attention to interior design. It took six years to rediscover his natural artistic balance and the talent for painting that would thereafter form the focus of his life.

  Often large enough to fill an entire wall, Jiang's works are produced at his studio in the Chaoyang district of Beijing, not far from the 798 Art District, which has often been likened to New York's Greenwich Village or SoHo. His paintings are products of an exceptionally time-consuming creative process. It takes 35 days to complete a canvas one square meter (10 sq. ft.) in size, the artist explains. He might easily spend five to seven days on composition alone, and more opulent arrangements like Lost in Transition can take anything from two to four weeks. The compositional phase often involves the use of photographs and digital media.

  Though he battles with the frantic pace and mundane nature of the modern age, Jiang's primary concern is always to find his own balance. Despite taking a close interest in contemporary trends in art, he says he does not allow these to dictate his style. Among the Old Masters in his pantheon he lists such gifted European portraitists of the lateedieval and Renaissance periods as Jan van Eyck, Hans Holbein the Younger and Raphael. From within China's current art scene he is influenced by contemporaries such as He Duoling and Ai Xuan, the half-brother of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, now also a well-known name in the West.

  In recent years Jiang Huan's work has caught the attention of collectors from around the world, thanks to collective exhibitions in Asia and increasingly in the United States. While Chinese buyers generally prefer his precisely executed portraits, the more whimsical compositions tend to end up in the handsof art enthusiasts overseas.

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