Living Images

I was always impressed by Japanese woodcuts of Ukiyo school, such as Utamaro’s geishas and kabuki actors, and traditional Chinese guó huà (国画)landscape painting, arguably considered as the highest form of the Chinese art. 

This fascination is matched by my respect for philosophical spirit of those ancient cultures expressed in their art: balanced admiration of both chaos and order, creation and destruction, immensity of the nature as opposed to transience of human life… Such an enthusiasm motivated me to create a number of works in the manner of oriental miniatures, utilizing technique that I have learned in the school of Chinese painting and calligraphy of the Chinese master Chen Li Fan.

The installation “Living images” comprised 20 miniature paintings made in the style of Dong Yuan and Juran, characteristic for “the heyday of Chinese landscapes” (907–1127), and an actress (my sister Rada) who was sitting in the middle of a niche, surrounded by those paintings. She was presenting a living symbol of Yin and Yang, two fundamental and mutually complementar forces that govern the universe.  The coloring of her makeup and traditional costume was divided in white and red side – white being a Chinese color of mourning and sadness (associated with death), and red symbolizing good fortune and joy (and therefore, according to Chinese customs, forbidden at funerals or any sad occasions). Depending on the direction of their approach, the visitors would see either one or the other dominant color, and finally perceive their split nature and mutual dependency. The surroundings illuminated by candles and filled by gentle oriental music created a sacral and contemplative space, fitting the purpose of this installation in which images gain a life of their own.