XIE DINGQUAN SOLO EXHIBITION
2013年的一个晚上，我坐在书桌前随手翻看一堆画册，翻到了徐悲鸿先生藏得《八十七神仙卷》。那一刻，我觉得自己找到了想要做的作品方向。这个作品的经典性以及内容，都符合我要找的创作本体。坐标点和距离，这些概念综合到一起，如何找到一个最佳的角度去表达这种距离感成了我的问题。图像上的接近，图式上陌生，最终，我借用了把图像反转的方式，也就是把所有的图像180度反转过来，最后再组合起来形成一个集体背向图式的画面，来表达这个“距离”。而图像上的既熟悉又陌生的感觉就是我要表达的。八十七位神仙正好在一座仙桥上，图像上的一正一反好像空间上的此岸和彼岸。八十七神仙卷是此岸，我创作的就成了彼岸。《彼此一》，21 cm x 29.5 cm，2015《彼此二》，21 cm x 29.5 cm，2015有了这个创作的想法以后，我就开始准备。我意识到这是里面有巨大的工作量。我没有着急开始，打算去古代遗存的经典壁画中找些灵感。2013年的夏天，我去了敦煌，戈壁滩的凄凉，马上就进入了马致远笔下的诗境和金庸的大漠武侠的状态。在沙漠中散步的时候，阳光的温度是双倍的，脚底下没有太多力气，云很高太阳却很低，一种莫名的悲凉感会自然的升起。很难想象从南北朝时期这里曾经几个世纪的繁华气象，直到你进入了壁画的洞窟，你就会明白曾经这里是怎么样一番盛世景象。
《背光 摹写二》，120 cm x 240 cm，2018信仰在这个时代,越来越淡化。很少被提及，也很少被重视。信仰自由，是最好理由，也是最好的逃避。虽然每个人好像都有自己的目标，但是精神上的孤独，仿佛是这个时代的缩影。敦煌的这一次观看，有点像给自己的思想上开了一个动员会，我明白这个图像上的接近，图式上的反转，最后组合成一个新的图像，是一个很大的工程。
I was born in the great plain of Hebei Province in China and grew up playing in the Hutong. When I was free, I liked to paint on the wall, and I could draw all day. Maybe it's a special relationship with the wall. In 2005, I was admitted into the Central Academy of fine arts. After one year's study in the basic modeling de- partment, I entered the mural department, and began to study and live in the Academy for several years. In the mural department, I stayed for five years, and Chinese traditional murals planted a seed in my heart.
Society is another university. The conflicts of social energy field also affect my thoughts . In many social problems, belief has always been the focus of my concern. I began to think about the relationships between myself and society and whether there is a possibility of combination between traditional culture and contemporary culture. With such problems, I have made a series of attempts to reflect on how our times face the problems of tradition and belief. I want to express the sense of distance between the present and the tradition, and use traditional methods to complete an unconventional work.
As time goes on, while studying ancient paintings, the communication with the ancient works made me gradually clear the direction of how I should do it. To find a proper coordinate point and talk with the ancients is to give people a channel, or like a buddhist allegorical word or gesture.
One night in 2013, I sat at my desk and browse a bunch of picture albums. I found the Eighty-seven Immortal scroll painting collected by Mr. Xu Beihong. At that moment, I felt that I had found the direction of my work. The classicality and content of this work are in line with the creation noumenon I am looking for. Coordinate point and distance, these concepts are synthesize together, how to find the best angle to express this sense of distance has become new my problem.
Close in image, unfamiliar in schema. In the end, I borrowed the way of invert the image, that is, inverting all the images 180 degrees, and finally combining them to form a collective back schema picture to express the distance. The familiar and unfamiliar feeling on the image is what I want to express. Eighty-seven immortals are just on a fairy bridge. The front and back of the image seem to be like one side here and the other in space. Eighty-seven immortal scroll painting is on this side, and what I created became the other side.
With this creative idea, I began to prepare. I realized that there was a huge amount of work in it. I didn't start in a hurry. I was going to find some inspiration in the classical murals left in ancient times.
In the summer of 2013, when I went to Dunhuang, the desolation of the Gobi Desert immediately brought you into the poetic realm written by Ma Zhiyuan and the state of the desert martial arts of Jin Yong. In the desert, when walking, the temperature of the sun is doubled, there is not much strength under the feet, the clouds are very high, but the sun is very low, a sense of inexplicable sadness will rise naturally. It's hard to imagine the bustling atmosphere here for centuries from the northern and Southern Dynasties. When you enter the cave of fresco, you will understand what a prosperous scene it used to be.
The power of faith has transformed this place from a cave to hundreds of caves. Thousands of years later, it is also the light of faith that makes it a holy place for artists. The religious belief made Dunhuang success. These murals also made belief and art become one.
While copying the Eighty-seven Immortal scroll painting collected by Mr. Xu Beihong, I conceived the creation of the other shore. Dunhuang's silence also gave me a chance to be quiet. People always need to understand that art is a kind of faith and the state of mind is very important.
Faith in this era, more and more desalination. It's rarely mentioned or valued. Freedom of belief is the best reason and also the best escape. Although everyone seems to have their own goals, but the spiritual loneliness, has become the epitome of this era.
This time I watched the Dunhuang murals, it was like a mobilization meeting for my own thoughts. I understand that it's a big project to combine the proximity of this image, the reversal of the schema, and finally became a new image.
What I saw in Dunhuang gave me this spiritual strength.
《背光 仙童三》，57.5 cm x 57.5cm，2021
《背光 法海寺》，120 cm x 120cm，2021
3 KEY WORDS
When asked why he created the work The Other Shore, Xie Dingquan replied that it was a reflection on contemporary social belief issues, as well as a tribute to tradition.
Belief is not limited to religion. It is larger than religion, or religion is just one form of belief. Belief can also include values such as love, beauty, goodness, justice, fairness, freedom, and sincerity. In traditional society, people's beliefs are mostly based on religion. When Nietzsche shouted, "God is dead," the sacred religious era had already irreversibly given way to the secular era of exorcism. Where should people's beliefs go? How should people settle their lives?
Quan is not like a philosopher who stops at the level of conceptual debate, nor is he like a politician who provides a specific solution. Instead, as an artist, he maintains the ability and enthusiasm of an artist to create, attempting to present such a problem domain and open a reflective "place" or "channel" through artistic means to bring the audience into it.
If we only look at the intention, there can be many ways to achieve the purpose of reflecting on faith, especially in contemporary art, which can be done using installations, collages, or even ready-made objects that do not require too much technical skill. For example, Duchamp achieved his intention of reflecting on the art system by using a daily use item, a urinal. This type of contemporary art is like a brain teaser game, which loses its appeal once people know the answer (the conceptual intention), and even feels like a cynical trickery.
Obviously, Ding Quan did not choose this kind of clever shortcut, but chose a very traditional method. The term Traditional can be understood from both the content and form aspects.
In terms of content, Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism were the core beliefs of ancient Chinese society, which is a sufficiently profound and long-standing tradition, so Ding Quan said, "It was not me who chose Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism, it was me who was chosen."
In terms of form, he chose traditional painting techniques, such as sketching, outlining, coloring, and layering, which is a laborious and time-consuming process that requires professional skills. It took him three years from 2013 to 2015 to complete The Other Shore and this was only the beginning. He also created Confucius Teaching and Pharmaceutical Sutra Variation up to the present.
Ding Quan also used such a traditional method and spent such a long time and energy to create such a large volume of work, which is more impactful than any installation can achieve. To persist in completing such work requires a kind of faith, as he said, "People always need to understand that art is a kind of faith."
Faith and tradition are still elements within the category of classical painting. If Ding Quan were limited to these elements, his works would only be classical paintings in the traditional sense. However, Ding Quan made a very clever jump from classical to contemporary art by using the element of Backward.
From the perspective of image semantics, the content of the painting is a backward between tradition and faith, which strongly points to a question that makes the audience involuntarily think, who is backward to whom? " Did our faith deviate from us or did we deviate from our faith? "
When we unconsciously begin to reflect on ourselves, we actually drew back distance with ourselves, opening up a Forest Clearing in the current social and cultural context, allowing Me to observe and contemplate our own living environment. This is the moment of the occurrence of contemporary art.
From the perspective of contemporary art, Ding Quan's works are not quite contemporary. Contemporary art is usually characterized by three aspects: the contemporary nature of ideas and concepts, the contemporary nature of media, techniques and presentation, and the contemporary nature of formal language. These three aspects are closely related and interactive, but the final focus is usually on formal language.
However, Ding Quan's works are different in that his focus is more on ideas and concepts, while the other two aspects are very traditional. He puts his ideas into images, and translates concepts into visual elements, creating a paradoxical meaning in the image, presenting a tension in knowledge, and drawing the audience strongly into it.
In terms of presentation, The Other Shore restores the format of the fan version and mural of The Eighty-Seven Immortals. In terms of formal language, he closely follows the traditional style of mural creation, using wooden boards or canvases to simulate the cracked form of murals by brushing on a layer of white plaster and waiting for it to naturally crack before outlining and coloring, all in traditional style. This approach is due to Ding Quan's professional background, but to some extent it deconstructs the stereotype of contemporary art, which is undoubtedly another Backward.
Ding Quan's Backward series of works, like a call, gently and elegantly calls on the audience to "turn back and be sincere," to honestly look at themselves, to seek their exiled hearts, and thus to rebuild their belief in life.
Extracted from Self-Backward: On the Contemporary of Xie Dingquan's Painting, written by Zhou Min (Ph.D. in Philosophy from Peking University, lecturer at the School of Fine Arts at Jiangxi Normal University)
About the Artist
2005-2010 中央美术学院 本科
2012-2015 中央美术学院 硕士
Central Academy of Fine Arts, B.A. 2005-2010
Central Academy of Fine Arts, MFA 2012-2015
Employed by Hubei Institute of Fine Arts 2015-2016
Visiting Scholar at Cornell University 2019-2020
Teaching at Jiangxi Normal University 2016-now