The ongoing thoughts of an art teacher in China - and home in Sydney

A continuing diary about my travels in China, and thoughts about China and Chinese art from home and abroad

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Thoughts about learning Chinese - and more on Liu Zhuoquan

Liu Zhuoquan, Bottles Photographed in the Artist's Studio, Beijing, March 2011

I made a snap decision yesterday to enrol in Mandarin for Semester 2 at Sydney University. Clicked 'submit' with  credit card details to enrol online and then thought "Oh my God, what have I done?" Learning (or attempting to learn) with the kind and gentle Lian in private lessons was one of the most difficult things I have ever done - as Peter Hessler said in his account of learning Chinese in Fuling when he was in the Peace Corps, 'Had a human being ever compressed more wrongness into a single hour? Everything was wrong - tones, grammar, vocabulary, initial sounds.' And now I guess I will be exposing my inadequacy (not to mention my aging and increasingly inelastic brain) to other students in the class....but if I am going back to China, as I hope to do, next year......
With Tony Scott and Liu Zhuoquan in Liu's studio. Beijing, March 2011

I showed images of works by Liu Zhuoquan to my students, and to a group of art teachers at a training course this week - people find them fascinating. Tony Scott from China Art Projects tells meLiu's work was very well received at the Hong Kong Art Fair and he is on his way to international recognition. Liu was mentioned in John McDonald's review in yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald. He will show at Niagara Galleries in Melbourne in 2012. Sometimes it seems like a dream that I was lucky enough to meet all these extraordinary artists, and visit them in their studios....

Liu Zhuoquan, Broken Finger 02, 2010 (image courtesy of China Art Projects)