Reading for a long time, people's thoughts are likely to be limited to some rigid reading patterns. Every reading pattern has its limited effectiveness.Once the limit is surpassed, all interpretations will become dull and boring.For example, when you are looking at the skillful paintings, there are many ways to appreciate them (close examination, sharp observation, or a glimpse of them).Tension exists in the so called "to look" and "to be looked".Certain esthetics relations are generated by feeling this tension.In other words, to have the power of tension is a distinguishing characteristic of beauty.However, the art language of the calm and implicit creations which has close connections with the traditional pedigrees will form an inward expanded soul space, and all of its details are connected with people's private world.When we are facing this kind of works, "reading" not only provides us an effective way of interpretation; what is important is that it provides an atmosphere of communication for us.D.W.Winnicott once said that reading provides a potential room for us where the distinction between "inside" and "outside" becomes obscure, and that is just like the process where we absorb the external world into our developing psychology.Here "reading" has broken away from the passive state of being received; on the contrary, it brings us into the inner world of the artists.Of course, if we are lucky enough, we will get into a situation where self-examination can be made.In that case, we may find out who we are, and may find out some relationship between the world and us.
Undoubtedly, Gao Qian's paintings are such a sequence that we need to think and read constantly.The tinge of Gao Qian's paintings is mild and cold.And it seems that the artist is whispering in a low voice.We'd better listen attentively to the artist when she is rendering her true feelings about the world.We may be awakened by the feelings of the artist and her consciousness.
In this process, how the "object" is showed in Gao Qian's painting is what I am quite interested in.To be more accurate, all the "objects" that are showed in Gao Qian's paintings have something to do with the boudoir.For example, a round mirror, a wooden comb, a blue and white porcelain cup, a tablecloth with patterns of flowers and birds embroidered on it, a pair of high-heeled shoes, etc, and even the tiny creatures such as a butterfly, a bird which is standing still beside a mirror, and a cicada with unspread wings are conventionally closely connected with the women's quarters.Women's complaint in the boudoir is one of the subjects in the ancient poetry.And the so called "Xiang Lian style" poems also writes about women's daily life.Of course, here I am not to say that there are something conservative existing in Gao Qian's paintings; on the contrary, here I am to emphasize the modern and accurate perception and conveyance of the women's living experience.And essentially, the boudoir which may breed passive feelings has changed this traditional meaning.The transcendence of Gao Qian's paintings comes from her selection of modern images which, to some extent, break away from the limitation of women's world, and carry the signs of the external world.For example, such external world as the sky which is reflected in the mirror, and the sense of broad mind which is caused by the cloud.What's more, I am astonished at the acute sense of the artist when she paints only one high-heeled shoe in his picture! A single shoe means incoherence and even obstruction of the action, and the static state of this shoe is exaggerated and emphasized.However, at that moment there is a buttlefly which is flying nearer and nearer and then takes a rest beside that shoe.We can feel the dynamics of the picture.In this picture, instantly the static state and the dynamic state meet together.Form the rhetoric or narrative point of view, the "reverse metaphor" is created here: the effect of referrng something from the reverse direction.In that case, the spread wings of the butterfly become a static sign.And the only high-weeled shoe seems to be dynamic.This perception not only makes us think about the existence of the other shoe, but also brings our thoughts to a broader area which is beyond the boudoir.
The choice of the modern image does not imply the essential thoughts and spiritual transcendence.The very thing that Gao Qian's modern painting style impresses us is her intensive watching and introspection of women's living experience.In Gao Qian's paintings we can find the moderate and stubborn consciousness which can not be found in the traditional paintings.Once Gao Qian said that "I consider the painting as a congealed space, and it is a trace of some feelings caused at certain time or in certain space.And the blank space left by the interval of time is cherished by the artists:
Everyone can use his own way to replenish this blank space.Many chances are created by this blank space which could be painted and scribbled in continuously.……there is something hypnotic and fascinating in this space, where you can enjoy yourself and even savor the misery.And what's more, you can taste the contingency of gentle collision-that is the space which I will find out in my paintings.( Gao Qian: Space)
Filling in the blank space is not only the creation process of the art forms, but also a process of enjoying oneself and even savoring the misery.It converts one's life experience, especially the uncertain adventitious experience to a clear vision vocabulary.Besides the arrangement of the boudoir image, in Gao Qian's art creation, the complex feeling of women she captures is the very part which vividly implies the women's qualities.That is the verbal balance which integrates depression and sorrow together. A penetrating female artist will more or less feel the pressure caused by the powerful traditional male art.Whether it is consciously or subconsciously, this depressive experience can be found in Gao Qian's works.In her works named wander，we can find a tablecloth with splendid butterfly pattern in it hangs down，and this image appears nearly in all of Gao Qian's works.At the same time, a real butterfly is flying towards the painting to find its landing point.All the butterflies are of the same form, but they are separated ones.Every butterfly here can be regarded as a metaphor.And we can feel two distinct fates form one beautful creature.If the real butterfly is an independent creature, then the butterflies in the tablecloth can be regarded as another kind of creature.They represent the trace of life rather than the real life.They are the remote memory of life.Their fate is the shadow of the real butterfly.Fatalism is implied here.Just like what is written by Sappho:
But their heart turned cold and they dropt their wings.
In Gao Qian's paintings, we could notice that the correlation between the decorations of the tablecloth and the real objects is the most common composition way.The complementary relationship is formed between the reality and illusion.The shapes of the real objects in her paintings always, to some extent, have the characteristics of symbols.And that perhaps is the reason why Gao Qian's paintings give us a sense of decoration.The sense of decoration may remind us of the famous poetry Duan Zhang.It is hard to say whether the unreality decorates the real objects or they together decotate our dream.The expanded situation shows the dependent role of the decorational life, or can be understood as the decorational role of women's life.
By far, only objects have been desplayed in the paintings, with total absence of people.Of course, it does not mean that people do not exist.In fact, we could feel the existence of people by the display of the objects and the relationships between these objects.Though it is an empety boudoir which gives us a feeling of desolation, we can feel the existence of the host by some tiny objects such as the wooden comb, the mirror, the dressing table.And it seems that all the mirrors can reflect the image of a person who does not show up in the painting.It seems that these objects are waiting for the return of the hostess.The description of these objects reflects a woman's innermost world and her living experience and even her fate.
Even when people leave, the objects stand there still.The silent atmosphere is well expressed in Gao Qian's paintings.She makes us listen attentively to the sighs and the whispers which are remaining in the air, and even the boundless expanse of the space.Her sentimental monologue of the world, and the contradictory situations which are implied in the paintings become emptiness in the bigger desolate and gloomy room.In that case, we can say that Gao Qian chooses her own way to reconcile the conflicts rather than exaggerate the conflicts of women's experience.Therefore, a dramatic conclusion is that a conflicting tense is formed by the partial details, but the nervous atmosphere is neglected by the whole.
The sense of the equilibrium demands craftsmanship as well as the artists' appropriate judgment of the world.In this aspect, Gao Qian does a good job.Some female artists are radical when expressing the relationship between the innermost world and the real world.Although their depictions are sharp, the paintings are full of the restless factors.The irrational emotion may spoil the accuracy of the language of art.Comparatively speaking, there are some rational elements in Gao Qian's paintings.There are many reasons for this, and her concentration on the creation of objects is the main one.
Zhang Jian regards Gao Qian's paintings as the still-life with fine brushwork.Beside its professional meaning, I think this definition is of profound implicaiton.To a fine brushwork artist, the process of refining his painting style is the very process of integrating himself into the "objects".After persistent thinking and close observation, the artist knows the objects very well, and it seems that the artist passes his feelings to the objects and makes these objects alive.At this time, these "objects" themselves are not the static substances; they are the embodiment of the artist.Apart from the physical description of these "objects", we can feel the solitary supplication and recollection of the artist from these static objects.
What deserves to be mentioned is that the still life in Gao Qian's paintings comes from the imagination of the traditional boudoir.The wooden comb with the dim colour, the antiquated round mirror which could be overturned, and the well-made celadon ware, which have already been mentioned above, are passed from the ancient time to nowadays in their various forms.It seems to be a gift presented by the ancient time.The insignificant small objects show their significant existence in the form of art.As a result, Gao Qian's static objects are endowed with a sense of history.I'd rather to believe that Gao Qian sincerely deals with the subject of "time" in her paintings.
With the reference of the time and the historical events, the introspection on the women's living conditions has an extensive meaning.Of course, with the shelter of the "objects", and the buffer of the "time", Gao Qian's expression of the female experience is featured by its conciseness rather than anxiousness.And at the same time, the surrealist esthetics is shown here.The "objects" in the paintings are separated from the complicated reality, and just stand in silence.They are too solitary and pure, and seem to be the eternal time itself.They are related to the past as well as the future which is obscure and endless.
The artist's maturity and wisdom are embodied in her restrained expression and intensive introspection, etc.However, just as maturity and wisdom can not explain the mysterious life, art is only a dream of human beings, and a beautiful illusion of the lonesome life. It is as fragile as the celadon ware in Gao Qian's paintings, which are easy to be broken; and we may feel painful about that.They are standing at the edge of the table, and it seems that something is going to come to an end.In our heart, we begin to feel something threatening.
And we would like to quote the poem written by Wikipedia, a great Russia poet, who is well known in her early age for her " chamber play" poetry to end this article:
Sound of the skirt, plaid scarf, mirror with a frame.
We admired Karenina's beauty.
Wallpapers stick on the narrow corridor.
And we appreciated those when we were young.
In the faint kerosene lamp,
The surface of the soft chair was still made by the plush….
This was the moment when we decided to come into the world…….