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Sunday, 26 April 2009
Critical Reflections

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The fox in The Little Prince said that it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye. Brice Marden commented that a good piece of art should slow down time so that people may stop and reflect on what they have neglected in their frivolous and hectic lives.

This week I went to see a student art exhibition, and was struck by much of what I saw but in particular by the intersection between the personal and public aspects of the art for these young people.

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The photos here are of works by Xiaodi Chen, and here are some extracts from her candidate statement:

My growing interest in the impacts of technological development and globalization on our lives gradually took my focus from the individual to the collective. In a culture aiming for profit, we tend to ignore the negative aspects of our economic behaviours. I therefore wanted to use my art to expose the grim facts behind the façade of gaíety in our society.

In a country where my mother tongue is not spoken, painting naturally becomes my preferred way in exploring the nuances of life. Oil paint, which I found the easiest to manipulate, was my favourite. Yet, works by Claes Oldenburg alerted me that my satisfaction with oil paint had blinded me to other possibilities in artistic expression. Being particularly inspired by the fact that a genius use of material can magically transform the mundane to the extraordinary, I turned Coca-Cola cans into prayer wheels and instant noodles into a traditional Chinese painting, hoping to provoke more critical reflections on culture and society by constructing the metaphors.

If I could have only one expectation for my art, I wish all my works to be torches lighting the path to our hearts; so that one day, we may see the truth that is invisible to our eyes now.

I have highlighted just one aspect of her exhibition - I was impressed by the range of works that she produced, and her weaving of cultural elements into her pieces, inspired by Brice Marden’s Cold Mountain series.

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Posted by bigblue on 26/04/2009 at 09:23 AM
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