In 2011, artist Lin Jingjing created the collaborative work Color of Memory, in which she asked several people to recount their most painful memories, describe them as objects and assign them a color. She then created paintings and readymade installations based on these recollections, pairing them with video of the participants’ responses. Below are some of the responses:
What is your most painful memory?
Fifteen years ago, I took my three year old daughter to go shopping at the mall. I spotted a pink one-piece dress that I had her try on. It fit her well, and looked really pretty on her. So I went to the register about ten meters away to pay for it. She was squirming around in front of the mirror, trying out various poses. She was only out of my sight for two minutes, and … Read More »
Yu Jian is a famous Chinese poet who resides in Kunming. This essay is the best homage to the city I have ever come across. It also contains his first poem, Green Park in Summer, written in 1973. I originally translated it for the now defunct Yunnan Magazine.
Though I’ve never left, I no longer recognize my hometown
Passing through this newborn city, I feel like a returning exile
Like a ghost returning to the temple, I still know
where the Li family well is, where the Zhang family garden is
where my grandmother’s rattan chair is, where her emerald earrings are
where the curtain hanging in the darkness is. I still know
where mother’s market is, where the eaves of the city god temple are
I can still hear the wind chimes, I can still see the bats in their grey robes
the sunset over the eucalyptus lake shimmering … Read More »
Kang Jianfei is a print artist and painter based at the Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing. This essay by Tony Chang was written for a 2008 exhibition at Amelie Gallery. Visit their website for more information about Kang Jianfei
I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms,
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.
-Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird by Wallace Stevens
Kang Jianfei was born in Tianjin in 1973, and his life has always revolved around the academy. Since completing undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the China Central Academy of Fine Art, he has remained there as a member of the faculty. This once rambunctious student who was a constant headache to his teachers has now become the esteemed Instructor Kang.
The art academy, a hotbed of elitism, provided Kang with stability and social respect, allowing him … Read More »
In 1993, Chinese artist Ye Yongqing penned a memoir that summed up his life at that point, from his childhood during the Cultural Revolution to his artistic awakening and maturation as an artist. This excerpt mainly focuses on his first encounters with Western art and the heady days of the 1980s:
I got good scores on the college entrance exam in the first year, but I was rejected due to the results of my physical examination. I tested very poorly the next year, but for some strange reason I was accepted into a coveted position at the oil painting department of Sichuan Institute for Fine Arts. In my first year as a student, it was the standard training, plasters and sketches day after day with no variation. Everyone worked very hard then, and outside of class, our spare time was … Read More »