Only her body , the latest in UCCA's long-running "Curated by..." series, Yang Shaobin introduces young painter Kong Lingnan and her luminous landscapes inspired by the body of our Mother Earth.
Using nothing more than regular oil paint and a painstaking application of color, Kong Lingnan creates a "neon effect" that gives mountains, valleys, glaciers
and ice floes an eerie, otherworldly glow. But not even these distant, isolated regions are immune to the depredations of human activity: everywhere we look, we find tiny human figures engaged in building, fishing, spearing, drilling and spilling, leaving behind the detritus of their tools and technology, seemingly oblivious to their impact on the landscape around them.
Bathed in the neon light of what the artist terms "false rainbows and manmade illusions," these canvases reveal the bare bones of a much larger story: that with everything we do, we are altering the contours of this planet, chipping away at the only body she will ever have.
- Jérôme Sans, UCCA Director.
The appeal of Kong Lingnan's work is the way it transports familiar settings, people and objects into the realm of the dreamlike and unreal. Her attitude toward reality is detached, dubious and pessimistic, subscribing to no preconceived values, trusting in no pre-existing systems, and wary of overburdening her work with social significance.
Only her body is not confined to the human body per se, nor is it limited to the female viewpoint. The artist channels the natural world or natural universe in the direction of her own interests, and uses the female body as a metaphor for the planet or the cosmos. It is a vast concept that will provide a solid foundation for Kong Lingnan's future artwork.
The cold desolation and baffling mystery of these paintings corroborate the artist's response to the real world. Mountains, human figures and inanimate objects are depicted as glowing outlines, creating a "neon effect." It is as if the artist were sketching the human circulatory system; the body's veins, arteries, vessels and meridians flowing, pulsing, pausing, stopping, drifting through the dark empty silence like a child in a lonesome dream.
- Yang Shaobin, Curator
March 5, 2011