Curatorial Note: All those Outcomes
by Zhang Li
Lai Jinna’s artworks in color pencil and ballpoint made their debut in a series in 2010. In “A Full Void” No. 1 and No. 2, pencils of four colors, red, green, blue and yellow, are used alternately to produce small and colorful patches of detailed and uniform strokes. Moving closer to the drawings, we can detect the indistinct outline of the objects. Those strokes of thin lines that start and end at particular places work to give complex forms and structures, like a flower basket, a vase, or vibrant flowers. Viewed as a whole, they are abstract and hazy noises produced by the uniform colors that change and repeat in a certain order, but surprisingly they become distinct realistic images when looked closer and more carefully. It challenges conventional modeling in drawing when she reverses two senses which we get from an overall view and a partial view respectively, one of formal reality, the other of abstract form.
It is one of “all those outcomes” Lai is to embrace. Born in Xi’an in 1985, she settled down in Beijing with her family in her childhood. Upon graduating from Xi’an Academy of Fine Arts, she rented a studio in Beijing where she had a number of conventional acrylic paintings on canvas, including landscape, animals, figures, as well as some experiments in from. These works, fresh and lively, tell us of her artistry, attainments, talents, as well as an open mind. When surroundings and conditions for creation changed after she moved with her family to a villa in Miyun in the northern suburbs of Beijing, she found herself drawing, in color pencil and ballpoint, livestock, fruit, vegetables and other things that were close to her life there. The tempo in the villa, gardening, and the simple and repeated everyday life, all contributed to the changes in her way of doing art.
This experience means opening up to the self. After all that comes into the focus of her view is reduced to the minimum, remains only the inseparable: material for drawing, objects and action. When she is fully concentrated on the dense lines, style, tradition, rules and fashion are all shut in an irrelevant dimension—the drawing is nothing but the result of drawing as a series of actions. In this case the animals and the flowers in her drawing, freed of multiple implications as images, present merely the “appearance”, while the images, as the outcome of drawing as a chain of actions, are rendered fairly delicate and exquisite. With deepened understanding and new experience gained from her continued concentration, she gradually reaches the core of the material. These drawings reveal that she is depending on the instinctive and unconscious experience that can “work automatically”, but in a broader analysis, she is determined to accept all the outcomes.
Lai has been focusing on the multiple relation between objects, forms and images, which relation, when well integrated, provides another way of observation, expression and expression from a psychologistical perspective, so “inward looking”, “inward expression” and “invisible images” become distinctive features of these works. Accompanying these pencil and ballpoint artworks, there is also an installation made of pencil stubs and thick branches from the pruned trees. It is another “outcome of the actions” that teaches us to view and understand in different perspectives.
“A Full Void: Lai Jinna’s Artworks” will have its opening on March 22, 2014 at 01100001 in Red No. 1 at Caochangdi Art Village in Beijing. This exhibition, also Lai’s first solo, will present over 30 color pencil and ballpoint artworks and an installation.