|trees and powerlines, photographed near Duolun Street, Shanghai, April 2011|
|The tangled jumble of Shanghai powerlines and rooftiles is a good metaphor for my hopelessly tangled brain attempting to understand, then reproduce, and then remember, the complementary adverbial adjunct...|
Pu Jie, 'Heavenly Gate', to be shown here in Sydney at Gallery Barry Keldoulis, photographed by the author in the artist's studio, April 2011 and reproduced with the permission of the artist
I enjoyed this artist's articulate and thoughtful explanation of his technique - of the images that are hidden below the beautifully painted red, yellow and vivid green surfaces of the work, usually images relating to unspoken and terrible events of the Cultural Revolution, events which profoundly affected his own family. Layered one over the other, in semi transparent glazes, the present is literally hiding and overshadowing the past, and yet the past is always there, just under the surface. In the painting above, a sad male figure from the revolutionary period lies under the Tiananmen Square image: still a potent and politically charged sign of dissent. In other works, the pop-infused images of modern Shanghai and consumerist desire are underpinned by Young Pioneers in their red scarves. The works are simple on one level, and visually slick and appealing, yet they possess an undeniable and powerful charge, that sense of the extraordinary pace of change and transformation that is everywhere in China, and most particularly in contemporary artworks of every type.