The Eighth Day 2010
I was driving Hu Ming to her studio in Kangaroo Valley. Bob usually drove the car, but he was occupied that day. The direction that Bob wrote me was things like "turn left 200 meters after you see Shell", I had no confidence in that because on the highway, if you missed the intersection you had to go around for another tens of kilometers. It was lucky to have Hu Ming with me in the car, she could guide for me.
was really nervous on the road, kept asking Hu Ming whether I was on the right way. The most frequent answer I got from her was: "eh? I donft think I have been here before." And suddenly she would cheer up and said; "Ifve seen that billboard before, this should be the right way." I said: "Please, you came here every week, no less than 500 times in ten years!" She replied: "So what?"
Therefore, our conversation started from this topic.
Hu: People always say I am really a muddle, actually thatfs right. The things that I lost in my life are countless. I was in charge of subscribing newspaper and magazine in the army, there were so many invoices. When it came to the year-end, there were more than 300 Yuan less, all I can do was to beg my mother to cover it up for me. The most dangerous experience was that electrical short cut in the broadcasting studio, I climbed up to the ceiling to inspect and muddled up the wires, I was electrically stunned. Until dinnertime, no one trumpeted, they could not find me in the broadcasting studio, so they went to the ward and saw the opening vent on the ceiling. That was how I got my life back.
Ling: Based on my understanding of you, I think your mind is very well structured. Your "silliness" should be considered as "out of state".
Hu: Yes, just like something has been taken away from reality. It happened all the time, such as in the car, I would imagine a picture when I saw those black and yellow barricades on the road, they were turning into catsf tails, standing in the middle of the road, very interesting. The few hours of travelling in the car to the mountains gave me space to conceive. To grasp a idea and fully expended it. I have a small notebook in the car, which records my ideas and sketches, all very detailed. So when Bob talked to me in the car, I replied but could not hear a thing or remembered. He called me dreaming girl.
Ling: This dreaming should be considered as "day dreaming".
Hu: Exactly. You know what, Ifve written a movie script in 1986 called <Day Dreaming>, which was also published in August 1st movie magazine in 1986. It is a children science fiction. The protagonist is a primary school student called Zhang Xiaofan. He loves to fantasize, and indulges himself into the whimsies that has nothing to do with reality. For instance, since the wheels are spherical, damage can be avoided in a collision; when encounter the traffic lights, cars can fly low altitude in order to reduce the traffic jam; the road is the speed changing conveyer, which is operated by solar. Also, there are lots of pipes in the kitchen at home, soy sauce, vinegar and other spices flow out from there. In the eyes of the teacher and his mother, Xiaofan is a child with ADHD, therefore he is considered as mentally disordered and sent to the lunatic asylumc In the end of the movie, Zhang Xiaofan is cured and becomes a good boy, goes to the classes primly and wearing the red scarfche is disappearing with his schoolmates into the distance.
Ling: This Zhang Xiaofan reminds me of you.
Hu: But my result is better than Zhang Xiaofan, I can daydream endlessly throughout my artistic creation.
It was an open valley in front of us. Hu Ming cheered up: "I know it now! Here we are!" We finally got home.
We stayed in the mountain that night. It was extremely quiet. In the dark, kangaroos, hares, fox, wombat, possum and owls all came out and occupied the garden, and they knew the guest was here.
Around 4 or 5 ofclock in the morning, birds started singing in the mountains. The animals scurried home to rest by riding the early morning lights, left footprints on the porch.
Hu Ming got up before 6 ofclock, and started her works of the day.
She transported a load of firewood to the studio by using the unicycle trolley. She lightened up the fire, and the flames brought vitality to this silent room. She picked two pumpkins from the vegetable garden, chopped off two pieces and put them on the stove.
The studio was extended two times in size. The finished paintings from the <Animal and Human Series> were put inside there. Again, this was another brand new series, animals were the dominant in these paintings. We chatted while shefs painting.
Hu: Ifm always looking for new things. The subject and content of my concept is always changing. When new pictures arise in my head, I will follow them and get lost. Every lost state can be developed into a series. And sometime itfs only one piece.
Ling: These paintings, it is really close and intimate between the animals and human beings. They look very cute, but also pitiful.
Hu: Can you tell their wretchedness? Animals and human beings suppose to be interdependent, but human are destroying the natural state, imposing manfs will onto the animals, which perish themselves eventually.
Ling: <The Last Supper> is so scary. All of the animals are eating human. Not only the beasts that we know, but also the docile ones are also sharing a part. If the world becomes like this, human will have nowhere to hide.
Hu: Human and animals are supposed to be equaled. But nowadays the consequences of the ubiquitous inequality of human framing animalsf ecological nature are everywhere, which is pathetic and hateful.
Ling: I feel like the previous <Genetically Modified Food Series> and the present <Animal and Human Series> convey two notions. First of all, to violate the law of nature will bring consequences to human beings, which express the concern towards the human future. Secondly, it depicts an ideal world- a world that human and animals or even human and nature are in a total harmony.
The aroma of roasted pumpkin was out, floating in every corner of the studio, exuding a sweet nostalgia. It was already more than nine in the morning, and this was our brunch, Hu Ming usually ate like this. She said she did not like having lunch at 12pm, if she accidentally ate more, she would fall asleep and could not paint any more.
Hu Ming once again entered into creating mode, I was watching at side while listing to A Baofs Northern Shan Xi love songs.
Hu Ming concentrated on painting a cat, lots of her paintings have cats, and it was kind of a special mark of her. Her cat is very adorable, and dynamically different, but all have the same expression of understanding everything.
Several hours past, I was almost unable to sit still, so asked her; "Donft you feel bored to paint so long?"
She smiled; "How come? I will go into another world once I start painting. There are so many novel ideas and endless pleasure to enjoy, how can I get bored? I can continuously paint for 9 hours even 13 hours. It is unconscious.
I said; "Hu Ming, you were born for painting." She replied: "Very good. Other peers enjoy painting, but I put my life on it. People said I had masochistic tendency. I think it might be the training result of the slogan "Fear neither hardship nor death" when I was young. In fact, I also enjoy putting my life on painting, the new tern is called 'challenge the limit'."
Around 5 ofclock in the afternoon, the kingfisher was warbling in the garden. Hu Ming said; "It is on that big tree, itfs calling me everyday at 5 ofclock." I didnft see it because of the dense brunches, but I saw a kangaroo standing outside the fence. After bump into me, it unhurried to look around in the garden again. Hu Ming called off work early for me. She said; "Koala is coming soon, there is an elder koala here for many years. It comes out of the woods at this time everyday, wonders around the house, itfs not afraid of me touching it. Letfs go and have a look of it."
In the evening, Bob was back. He pointed at the tablet on the wall-which they bought from Pan Jiayuan in Beijing-that was inscribed with "Ya Tian Xiu", and asked me the meaning of it. It means "to greet the blessing from God". But I interpreted in a manner of Kangaroo Valley; "to receive the happiness that nature gives us." Bob was very pleased.
Hu: These females under the mastersf pens, some of them are publicly acknowledged as masterpiece in the history, some of them are my own favorite, the artist may not be famous, but to me they are masters. Their appearances are neither in historical order nor the ranks of their fame, they are randomly positioned, mainly for the composition need.
The first one is Botticellifs <The Birth of Venus>. I rubbed in elements from contemporary society-camouflages from wartime. War replaces the ideal of peace and love.
That woman with green cloth is from Jan Van Eyckfs <Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and His Wife>. It is known as the first picture in the history of painting. On top of that, the fine detailed skills and the style of his characters are similar to Chinese meticulous detailed color painting. Thus, it is worth to be memorized.
I put the pregnant woman from Gustav Klimtfs painting beside her, childbearing is a breeding responsibility of women. No matter they are happy about it or not, she looks very happy, with an accidentally been fooled expression.
After that is Michelangelofs Goodness of knowledge, has beautyAstrengthAwisdom in one. Just look how beautiful the muscle is at her back, I am so confident in painting young muscles.
I always like Mona Lisa, her secretive smile, looking at the transformation of human and society with sarcastic smile. She has been repetitively appeared in my works since I started painting. Shefs from the same period as <Han Xizai Evening Banquet>, the spiritual world that they represent is the same, calm and beautiful.
After Mona Lisa is teenage girl of D. D, Velazquez, the empirical costume from this period was very decadent, slyly stunning and morbid. My main point is to present her cloth. Apart from the body curves, clothes play a very important role. Clothes represent class and the change of hierarchy at times, whether covering the body, for convenience or different decoration, they all have their own different meanings.
I put two of Andy Warholfs Marilyn Monroe on the pennant of the fairies. Marilyn Monroe is my favorite beauty, the eternal temptation. Warholfs Monroe is a revolution because it has told the public that art is not only from easels, but can also be produced from machines.
It supposed to be lotus in the hand of the fairy behind, but I changed it into the mushroom cloud of the atomic boom. Modern people focus more on conquest nowadays, they advocate military force, and have their hopes on the most advanced weapons. Look, the fairy is a mass of bruised.
The woman in red lying in the front is the representative work of the Raphaelite Frederie Leighton, lazy estheticism. Some critics believe his paintings are greasy and kitsch. There is no right or wrong in artistic standards, only like or dislike.
On the top, is the woman from Richard Lindnerfs works with leather gloves and garter. He had never been professionally trained, his mother made underclothes for people, so he grew up peeking at female models. I admire the weird and wild character of his female characters, full and with tension.
I don't really like the female body of Rubens, so I only selected one female portrait.
The cello player is from Domenichino, which plays the role of the prelude of the band at the back.
The woman in blue dress comes from the pre-Raphaelite Rossetti. All of the faces he painted were the same, just like him, especially the mouth, which is particularly sexy.
The one lying on the ground is the representative masterpieces from the Cubism Fauvism artist, Femand Leger. The original book in the hand has been changed into ipad.
The one with the stretching arms is the Goddess from David, which has also been put on a pair of headphones.
The one wearing red shawl is from the work of Modigliani.
The woman that plays piano is from Anne-Louis Girodet. She has so many works in her life. I love the pattern of her cloths, and also the piano. Her gesture just echoes with the immortal kabuki. The characters in immortal kabuki are the center and also the climax of this whole scroll, the design of the line drawing is so beautiful.
Beside itfs the woman in green dress from the painting of Lempicka. I chose her because the early female body shape in my works was hugely influenced by her.
Apart from the one of green dress, the six people in the group are all laborers. The woman in red kneeling on the ground is from Courbetfs <The Wheat Sifters>, her kneeling position is pure, simple and also sexy.
Fee Ann Marytemperaturefs <Russian Country Girl Vera>
<Back from the Market> of Chardin.
Jules Bastien Lepagefs <Haystacks>.
<Family>, from Schiele.
Bouguereanfs <Girl that Breaks the Water Jar>
Then it comes to the noble lady on the swings. Artist Fragonard belongs to classic Rococo, most of his paintings are the depictions of the sexual desire of those nobles, in gaudy style.
Rene Magrittefs paintings are extremely secretive. He is one of the most admired masters of mine. His imagination is elusive.
The white dressed woman who is making the dough is the character from the Mexican artist Rivera. He is the national treasure of Mexico, his paintings have been exhibited in the biggest Mexican museum. I actually donft like his style, but because my time is so limited and his painting is easy to copy.
That dismembered woman is Dalifs. For this kind of paintings, I only copied once, very easy.
The girl that sits underneath is IIya Yafimovich Repinfs painting of his own daughter. Repinfs work is difficult to copy. Copying this painting revealed my deficient skills in oil painting.
Women in Ingresfs paintings are the most virtue and serene ones, even the back of a bathing woman is still elegant and dignified. I was stunned when I saw this perfect naked back.
That chubby woman is from Lucian Freud. He is the grandson of Sigmund Freud, the psychiatric expert. His paintings are usually too real to face directly. I painted a bunch of capsules on the body of the woman to accusation- obesity and the overuse of antibiotics is a century disease.
The woman in white is from Degasfs impressionist work.
The woman with a child on her shoulder is also Michelangelofs work, very strong and sturdy. I painted because I like it.
I only sketched the outlines of Raphealfs Virgin Mary and Christ, and put @ in the position of his heart to manifest how much modern peoplefs spiritual life is dependent on internet.
Max Ernstfs works are extremely crazy, and I need that red.
To copy Gauguin is to save time.
The last one is Picassofs <Two Women Running on the Beach>, the original has two women with flying long hair. I cut onefs hair short to manifest homosexuality, which is also the contemporary phenomenon. The two running in the opposite directions represents the sense of rebellion.
And the last "immortal" is me. Colored glasses and five-pointed star is my symbol.
Ling: I feel like Ifve been going through the world art history after listening to you. I find another characteristic of this scroll, all of the Western women have been painted in half oil painting and half traditional Chinese realistic painting.
Hu: I purposely did it. Chinese painting believes line drawing represents the perfect shape. At first, I tried to do Mona Lisa with traditional line drawing, but no one could recognize her. It seems like it is not just the outline that people are familiar with, but the color sketch is also very important. So I found a neutral way to do it by combining the skills of oil paintings and line drawings together. To extract lines out of mastersf oil paintings is very interesting.
Ling: The most wonderful thing is, in this way, the characters from Western oil paintings are blended among the immortals, therefore, becoming unobtrusive in the scroll.
Hu: That is correct. I did the best to apply all my line drawing skill. It can be considered as the attempt to combine Chinese and West.
Ling: This painting is really gorgeous and powerful. The integration of Chinese and Western figures; the integration of line drawings and oil paintings; which makes the image coherent, and this is the so called qi. The composition of both the Western figures and Chinese immortals is fit and appropriate, this is shi. Such a great painting!
Even till now, I still have the same conclusion: Hu Ming was born for painting. Her family background, her personality, her experience and her living environment, all of these are the preparations for her to paint.