我生于北京，祖籍山车逢莱，父亲酷爱艺术，幼时父亲常常带着我们兄妹拜名师，亲临大师们的教诲，使我受益无穷。 母亲勤劳，慈祥，每年一到腊月，便是她老人家大显身手的日子，她像众多的胶东妇女一样，全做各式各样象征吉祥如意图案的面食，造型稚朴天真，春节是一年中最愉快的日子，全家张灯结彩，更新家画，游厂甸，逛庙全，色彩斑斓的民间艺术氛围在我的童年生活中留下深刻的印象。 十年农村生活的磨练，民间艺术的熏陶和强大的感染力，乡村婆姨娃娃们的欢愉，浓郁的民俗风情使我永远难以忘怀，从而我找到了我要表现的题材和终身的艺术追求。 这裹所选的是近几年所创作的，也是我美好梦境的一部分，羞于见人，但又渴望把自已的情感告诉众人，我愿把这一份乡情和快乐与朋友们共享，以激励自己，绘出更多五彩缤纷的梦。^-^Preface I was born in Beijing ，but my ancestral hometown is in pang Lai ,Shandong province. My father loves art ,and in my childhood be often took me and my sister to famous masters and formally acknowledged them as teachers the enlightening instruction of these masters were enormously helpful to my later career . My mother is hardworking and amiable. In the 12th lunar month every year, she would like most women in the eastern Shandong ,demonstrate her skill in making cooked wheaten food with all kinds of natural and naive patterns symbolizing good luck. The happiest time in a whole year is the Spring Festival ,during which the whole family would adorn the house with lanterns and festoons, change calligraphy and drawings on the walls ,go to Changdian and the Temple Fair.The colorful folk art atmosphere left a very deep impression in my childhood . The tempering of my ten year life in the countryside, the powerful influence of the folk art ,the pleasure of the country women and children, the rich folk custom were both unforgettable and inspiring ,from which I find the subjects that I want to express and also the artistic goal that I will pursue all my life . This selection here were created in recent years. They are also a part of my beautiful dreams. I feel uneasy to show these words to the public, but meanwhile I am eager to express my emotion to people ,I would like to share this country sentiment and happiness with my friends ,in hope of encouraging myself to paint more colorful dreams.
1) How did the situation of Chinese contemporary art change in the past few years? How did Chinese artists life change?
In fact it has been nearly 30 years since the development of Chinese contemporary art. The achievement of Chinese contemporary artists has been well recognized internationally at least from beginning of 1990s. It has caught greater attention only in the recent years probably because of the outstanding performance of Chinese contemporary art in the art market at home and abroad. All contemporary art associated business and resources, such as the number of artists, galleries, auction houses, media, collection fund and interested public and etc. all flourished, which has significantly changed the situation of Chinese contemporary art. In my point of view, it is too early to make judgment on whether the result of such changes is good or bad. Perhaps double-edge-sword is a proper expression.
Life of artists also changed and at least their working conditions are much better than before. You know life of the whole Chinese people has been improved.
2) What are your inspirations in modern Chinese society?
Development of Chinese society where I grew up and have lived is the most direct source of my inspirations.
I started to be engaged in art creation at the beginning of 1990s. I had been greatly interested in popular culture, public culture and consumer culture, which were the main sources of my inspirations. Another clue of my art creation is integration of my feelings on Chinese folk color system and contemporary commercial color system.
During the course of Chinas opening, reform, rapid development of economy since the 1990s, the life of people has changed tremendously and consumer culture entered its primary stage. My major creations in this period included Anatomy series (1992-1993), Recounting of Skin series (1994-1996) and Romantic Trip series (1996-1999). Anatomy series mainly shows my contradictory mind and confusion between accepting and refusing of swarming and enormous popular culture. Recounting of Skin series narrates that while expanded consumer production and affluent consumer manner brought rich economic life, it also brought destroy upon natural zoological balance and influence on peoples physical and mental health. As my foremost creation during 1990s, Romantic Trip series presents peoples expansion of vanity and desire during pursuing for new consumer manners and happiness indexes. Artistic critics deem creation of this period is Kitsch art and also New rich farmer gout art presented by consumer culture.
After the year 2000, social development and public life in China became more and more international, urbanized and fashionable. My main creations in this period include Coolness series (2000-2001), Butterfly in Love series (2001-2003), the to-be-continued Chinese Portrait series (2000- ) and Life Like Flower series (2006- ). Coolness series attempts to break through from detail and narration of Romantic Trip series to shape fashionable and future post-mankind. Butterfly in Love series makes modern fashionable women and women in old Shanghai of the 20th century stack up against each other with ambiguous gesture and complicated eyesight to examine respective styles. Life Like Flower series conveys my new experience and understanding about life with painting, sculpture and device etc. Through compact figure, popular mode, simple but strong comparative colors, Chinese Portrait series depicts puzzling and empty psychological portrait of contemporary Chinese with coat of international urbanism in flourishing consumer culture. This period presents urban popular interest of consumer culture. Li Xianting, a well known Chinese contemporary artistic critic, considers that Chinese Portrait series is a classic of consumer culture.
On the Artistic Conception of Flowers
3) Some critics say Chinese modern artists now tend to do what the market wants, especially western market, and lose their originality? Do you think it is true?
The critique of this kind never stopped since the word market is known to all. As there are so many artists in China, it is impossible for me to know the purpose and orientation of each artist. The only thing I can do is to restraint the childish judgment of market-oriented or none market-oriented to affect my art creation. In other words, my creation is not market-oriented.
Originally published in China Culture Daily, on Issue 188 in 2006
4) May I ask how expensive was the most expensive of your paintings that you sold? (if this is a rude question, please dont answer!)
Even while studying in college, Haiyan already harbored a special affection for flowers. Her subsequent series of representative works also reflected her unique interpretation and reconstruction of flowers. Recently, I had the opportunity to appreciate her new oil paintings which enabled me to sense the artistic conception of flowers within the Chinese atmosphere. The language of oil painting is rich and the artistic conception of Chinese painting is profound. By integrating these two components, she created her unique style of floral expression.
More than a million US dollars.
The integration of Chinese painting and Western painting itself is not original. Xu Beihong, Lin Fengmian and other artists all made attempts in this aspect at the beginning of the 20th Century. They devoted their heart and soul to the integration of the skills and concepts of these two styles. The later generations followed suit and persisted in the experimentations of the fusing of the Chinese and western painting styles. It is safe to say that, as a Chinese modern oil painter that had grown up under the influence of traditional Chinese culture, it is necessary for the artist to keep an eye on Chinese style art and seek a conjunction point of Chinese and western styles in the context of the traditional art form. What is special about Haiyan is that in the hustle and bustle of the artist circle in the past decade, against the backdrop of surface prosperity and inside trap of the national culture, she did not go with the flow. She never became part of the cynical realism, political pop and other behaviors that took advantage of basic surface symbols of Chinese art to transplant western artistic language so as to cater to the Western market. Moreover, she never superficially connected the Chinese and Western elements or just apply one on the other mechanically. Rather, she delved into exploration of the spirit and language of painting, putting special emphasis on exploring the artistic conception of paint. This kind of gradual cultivation is the way the Chinese literati deal with life and the world. So in her latest works, Haiyan gives off a strong literary vibe. In the recent years of exploration and experimentation of artists, the work of Haiyan can be seen as representational.
5) Where is your gallery? Do you have a place in Dashanzi?
Haiyan is a young female artist who looks at the trivialities of daily life from the special perspective of a woman. Her works are embedded with a strong female temperament. There is no doubt that the perspective of women is unique. The society, politics and life they experience is different from those of men. Women pay more attention to experience and sensibility. Haiyan never tries to avoid and disguise these traits but faces them naturally. She never puts on a show of excessive concern towards the chaos of the outside world, conflict of reality and abrupt change of thoughts. In her words, her life has been relatively smooth with not much hardship. As for the subject of painting, she chose something long favored by the Chinese literati, flowers, which embody the tranquility of the modern metropolis, serenity of home and symbol of femininity. This tranquility is very rare in modern day life, and requires a placid heart free from worldly desires. As a result, her latest works such as Spring Peach Flowers reveals the ancient temperament of indifference to worldly gains and a certain peacefulness. This is not a deliberate presentation but natural expression. To be free and unfettered does not imply being undisciplined and uncontrolled. Haiyans control of her painting is increasing, which is related to the changes in her life, the maturing of her feminine role, as well as her cultural and artistic accomplishments. In creation, this control is reflected as mediation. She combines the model and disciplines of Chinese folk flower painting with the vitality and intuition of sketch, and the cross application of abstract and representation, realist and spontaneous expression, the richness and abundance of oil paint and the flexible disposal of linear models, which enabled her to find the correct way to express her feelings through creation. Her flower works are static in contents while in the form, they are not. They express the feelings of the painter. For many years, she kept to sketching flowers and utilized the association method to capture her emotions. Contemplation and rumination is the cognition in which Haiyan turns pure static oil painting sketch, drawing, color, shape and brushwork into an expression of emotion, and therefore becoming painting elements and an artistic conception of flowers. In this process, she implements the Chinese creation principle of utilizing objects to express feelings and reflecting emotions in painting. The artistic conception of painting becomes the mode of communication between the inner self and the outside world, for a type of enlightenment. It uses flowers to express the artistic conception, the painter and emotion. As a result, compared with her earlier works, her present paintings are much more captivating for a longer period of time.
I have a studio at Feijiacun, Beijing. I dont have a studio in Dashanzi.
Haiyan has taken special interest to the traditional Chinese art these years. She especially focuses on understanding and reflection on the parent art and origin, that is, Chinese folk art. I have long deemed the characteristics of the folk culture of China to be propitiousness and thought that Chinese folk art is an art seeking propitiousness and peace. With symbolization, implied meaning, harmony and so on, it creates infinite connotation in all aspects of life. Each detail plays its own role, through which a race is portrayed as tough, unbending and optimistic even after hardships, and therefore, each folk art image is representational, and at the same time abstract and full of imagery. It surpasses the individual as well as the image and form to communicate a concentrated Chinese cultural language and typical symbols. It seems that the characteristics of Chinese folk art fascinated Haiyan greatly. From portrait stone of the Han Dynasty, Dunhuang frescoes, porcelain patterns, folk paper-cutouts, and embroidery to New Year paintings, were all things she dabbled in somewhat. This is why her recent years of flower works are brimming with a distinct Chinese flavor. From the composition to color, shape, pattern and the connotation transferred, the paintings are completely Chinese, yet, she uses western media as a medium. She does not merely splice the oriental and western art elements. In her words, she wants to make use of new connotations to enable contemporary people to experience traditional Chinese folk culture. This has become meaningful endeavor and her exploration is completely embedded in it. She puts particular emphasis on perceiving color and the intensity of colors. While creating the Chinese art image, she strives to give prominence to the fullness, layer, flexibility and quality of oil paint and integrate the two naturally without artificial trace. Consequently, the plum flower, orchid, bamboo, chrysanthemum, Flowers on a Tortoise back, Many Children Bring Much Happiness and Richness and Propitiousness under her brush conveys a modern charm amidst the traditional atmosphere it creates. There is less symbolism, and more livelihood, less moral messages, and more aesthetic appeal. This is the choice of a modern person when faced with traditional culture.
The oil painting of flowers of Haiyan embraces two elements of traditional Chinese art, i.e., folk art and the art of the literati. This is determined by the background of artists. The works completely discard the creation disciplines of western oil painting and fully reflect Chinese style composition, color and pattern, or even, in the application of materials, the exploration of paint and ink techniques similar to that of Chinese paintings. She focuses on the dark and light, dry and wet expression and gradually tends toward spontaneous expression. So, her language of art is heading towards refininement, generalization and pureness. This is an indicator of an artists journey to maturity.
August 7, 2006 The Beginning of Autumn
Pan Lusheng, President of Shandong University of Art Design, Professor, PhD. Supervisor.