CRITIQUES

Summary :

JIN BO « Morphogenesis »

Une "lettre vivante" qui atteint l'autre dans un discours

 

 

JIN BO « Morphogenesis »

By Michel BATLLE
Translated by Rémi MOREAU

Chinese art has hardly developed new conceptions for four millennia. It has had little interest, if at all, for novelty. It is difficult for westerners who have their own history of art, influenced by Mediterranean classicisms, to grasp this way of thinking and therefore far-eastern art. But today we are very lucky to have Chinese artists coming to us along with their art form which is, in some measures, westernized. Jin Bo belongs to that movement. He has been influenced not only by Communism but also by western cultural imperialism. He studied its foundations from Renaissance Art to Cubism, via perspective, volume and the different “realisms.”
At first glance, Jin Bo’s paintings seem to delude the spectator. Are we looking at a picture or a painting? Here is the first of the many qualities of his work: It arouses curiosity. The smooth and flawless aspect of his technique makes us think of the magical mysteries of Creation. It gives us a hint of a far and deeply anchored traditional culture.

A CHINESE NARRATIVE FIGURATION

Do Chinese artists care for tradition and culture?

Chinese modern art, celebrating its 25th anniversary, has been influenced by the “western experience.” The Middle Kingdom, where forgery is not illegal, has recently joined the international art scene or rather the international art market, it gave birth to Chinese Pop Art, Chinese Abstract Art, Chinese Performance, etc. These movements, kinds of narrative figurations with slanting eyes can be considered as a first stage preceding the advent of a “brand-new” art. It would synthesize China’s glorious past and very different cultures from those that contributed to feed our two-millennia-year-old western art. But China will not content itself with becoming a mere copy of European or American art, so as not to become “Banana Men”, as art critic Fei Davei puts it, that is, “yellow outside, white inside.”
However, with Chinese artists like Jin Bo, they try to find solutions and aim at creating a utopian bridge between the East and the West.
For the time being, Chinese painting looks like former Soviet Union art of the 80s; the only difference being that Lenin is replaced by Mao who has not gotten over with his Long March…
Jin Bo, as well, tried his hand at painting the Great Helmsman. As he points out, “I wanted to see what my painting could look like with Mao on one of my canvasses. He really embodied an era I didn’t know, but it has always been deeply anchored to us…” Every artist aims at forgetting the past, overcoming its vivid image, but Jin Bo has made it one of his favourite themes by diffracting the image and plunging it in a post-revolutionary turmoil that is progressively fading away.

TAO PAINTINGS?

The reason why Jin Bo’s paintings question and attract us is that they seem to come from somewhere else; many elements are related to the old representation of landscape. His paintings represent characters and more precisely faces, but beneath the surface, there seems to be rivers and mountains linked to sky and earth.
Chinese art, that flourished during the “Six Dynasties” in the Han-Tang period (from 2nd to 6th centuries), could be summed up as an art representing “vital rhythm” and “life and spirit,” as the painter Sie-Ho pointed out.
It is a quest for universality and for the true essence of man, that is, a meditative contemplation and the release of energies concealed deep inside us.
In Jin Bo’s paintings, what we see from ourselves is in no way the truth. There is a huge discrepancy between resemblance and truth.
The painting thus becomes the harmonized link between spirit and matter and the very presence of movement and space expresses concepts that open onto conscience.
As the Tao says and as Tchang-Tseu points outs: “at the beginning was the Non-Being”, that is, emptiness. We know that the Tao dwells in emptiness. This emptiness and silence stimulate perception…
These concepts are at the very heart of Jin Bo’s representations of distorted faces. A whole world is revealed, that of introspection and sensitive contemplation what Zen Buddhism calls “Satori” and the Chinese call it “Won”.
Jin Bo’s portraits are the fruits of his imagination, even if he paints from models (his wife, friends or himself). These portraits look like those of the Ming and Quing eras, but Jin Bo’s models are often an excuse for painting true subjects. His painting is not only a matter of technique, subject or composition, it can be all that at the same time, but it may also be very different. His paintings are very descriptive. The picture is nothing but an envelope, the subject painted is abstract and vibration and transparency are specific to his style. These faces can be described as inner landscapes and undefined “philosophical” landscapes technically close to “sfumato”, much praised by Da Vinci. There is no line in Jin Bo’s paintings, only crossing lines but impossible to cross. “Too much precision kills” Lao Tseu said, but the artist’s tour de force lies in his mastery of blurred transparencies and superimpositions. He creates powerful compositions in which one can make out the lines, the volumes, the contrasts, the emphasized shapes and the character’s shapes. Faces are also characterized by movement: hazardous swells, fits and starts, fluctuations, electric whirlpools, distortions and a feeling of discomfort. Content and form are intermingled. It is characteristic of modern artists. There are natural elements like water, fog, steam, mist, smoke, clouds, and mirages. “Painting and poetry are like one person.”
Where do Jin Bo’s polymorphic faces come from? Does he draw his inspiration from “original chaos?” Are his paintings shapes without shapes? Distorted shapes? Do they find their roots in the hypothetical mutation of human beings? How can we define their unstable presence? How can we describe the distorted poses? The character seems to waver between “I am, I am not; I doubt, I do not doubt.”

The painter Shitao wrote: “At the surface of a painting, a complete metamorphosis is on the way and in the middle of chaos, light flashes out.” What is this light? Is it a mere unstoppable energy feeding our senses? Is this the very essence of life?
Adventure is present in each painting, even if it is taken out of a series; there is always a move forward or a technical skill that prevents the painting from staying still. “The pictures I paint distort the image of painting.” Is it the image of painting or the image of his painting?
The physical aspect of shapes is distorted and it finally fades away.

In his last black, grey and white paintings, Jin Bo develops a technique of his own, giving carnal thickness and glazed texture to his subjects. They look like Jing De Zhen’s china; it reminds us that ceramics has always been “a major art.” Jin Bo’s paintings have a “smooth” and “descent” aspect nobly mastered.

Jin Bo achieves to create a pictorial osmosis between Chinese painting and western art, from traditions to our new technologies. His art is a synthesis but also a concentration of different movements in the history of art. It can be expressionist, minimalist, cultured, wild, philosophical, poetical… It is a meditation that stages the usual tragedy of human condition that characterizes our modern era: a global civilization that has progressively lost its way but heads towards its own suicide.

Can we imagine that light begets chaos?

 

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Une "lettre vivante" qui atteint l'autre dans un discours


Par  Nolwenn DEJEAN

 

Ce travail est issu d'une rencontre entre l'ART et la PSYCHANALYSE.
Pour JIN Bo, la toile est "un miroir". L'artiste devient "témoin de lui-même" (A. Artaud).

A travers ce langage de l'expérience vécue, B-JIN met en scène "l'instabilité" du corps. Pour lui, l'expression figurative est définie comme "un paysage", une sorte de "muraille qui sépare d'un réel indicible" (H. Michaux).

L'éruption chromatique prend valeur expérimentale et expressionniste "élevant ainsi l'objet à la dimension de la chose" (J. Lacan). B-JIN sublime le corps en mouvement par un trait rapide, épuré, léger. L'huile coule librement sur la toile "comme un fleuve" (B-JIN).

La série "métamorphoses" nous entraîne aux frontières du figuratif et de l'abstraction. "Il ne faut pas de rupture" nous dit B-JIN. Il n'existe pas de séquences et sa recherche actuelle porte sur l'effet de la lumière sur la déformation du corps. Une "lumière dans l'obscurité" nous dira Beckett. "Je parle avec ma toile" nous livre B-JIN. "Le pinceau est ma phrase", "les couleurs sont mes mots". "Je rentre dans un autre monde". C'est "un bonheur pénible, car j'ai envie d'en jouir tout le temps. C'est sans fin. Ca n'arrête pas". Cette jouissance du travail sublimatoire, B-JIN en témoigne comme d'un "soleil noir" (G. de Nerval) où l'opacité, le flou ne fascine que d'avoir su sortir le sujet d'un "vertigineux désœuvrement". C'est un "retour à une spontanéité" sans règles, un automatisme d'ignorance, un mouvement d'irresponsabilité, un jeu immoral" (Artaud).

Ce "JE", B-JIN s'y risque sans pouvoir abdiquer. Il existe comme une "réparation" dans cet ART de l'intime. Ce symptôme à "valeur protectrice" atteignant l'autre dans un discours. Les bénéfices que tire B-JIN de cette impulsion créatrice ne se limitent pas à une quelconque reconnaissance sociale, ni à l'aspect lucratif qui en découle. L'action de l'œuvre n'est pas si différente de l'ACTE analytique, changeant le sujet qui lui est destinataire et au-delà instaure une nouvelle production. B-JIN devient fils de son œuvre. Au travers de cette "composition pressée", apparaît une rigueur de travail où s'exprime l'expérience d'un "désir impossible" rejoignant "l'immédiat comme présence infinie" dont parle Hegel.

"L'ART contemporain met en rapport le discours scientifique : l'humain n'est pas rendu compte" nous confie B-JIN. "Moi, je parle avec ma toile. C'est ma meilleure amie".

 

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PRESS - INTERVIEWS

 

oc-tv-2008

Interview by OC-TV - 2008

 

 

Newspaper rerport of "Dépêche du Midi" - 2008