Sunday, 21 November 2010

Ambiguous, Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide

Ambiguous Chonggang Du at Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide, Australia 3-21 November 2010

We are living in a 'wrapped society', a society that is bizarre and full of obscurities. This modern life, with its emphasis on materiality and commerciality, stimulates and lures the public to blindly consume and be entertained - producing a social environment that lacks intellectual and rational life.

How did we get here? What kind of history helped from our present state? To reflect on the present does not mean going back to a world of pure spiritual emptiness but a need for a rational understanding of history and the relation of reality to ourselves, and if we are to exit this wrongful path we need to understand and correct ourselves.

The works in this show are composed of paintings from recent series and my constant explorations in the issues of man and nature, history and reality, religion and civilization, the cultural contrasts and fusions of the East and West, and social psychology of contradiction.

 Sister No.1, 2010, 137.2 x 137.2cm, oil on linen

The picture comes from internet, it shows women in early 20th century China.  The pictures haven been altered and enhanced to recreate a very isolated feeling, a world that's self-admired, traditional, and closed, just like China at the time.

Three inch golden lotus, 2010, 111.8 x 91.4cm, oil on canvas

Bound feet were considered intensely erotic.  Qing Dynasty sex manuals listed forty-eight different ways of playing with women's bound feet.  Some men preferred never to see a woman's bound feet, so they were always concealed within tiny "lotus shoes".  If you remove the shoes and bindings, the aesthetic feeling will be destroyed for them, the erotic effect was a function of the lotus gait, the tiny steps and swaying walk of a woman whose feet had been bound. 

Wrap up No.2, 2007 - 2010, 121.9 x 91.4 cm, oil on linen

The mass media and public opinions are the tools of decorations and packaging of politics and large groups. To bewitch people, splendid coats and effective words must be involved. And the falseness hides within them. How much of the stories written on the history are true? And how much of them are lies? We do not know. The appearance of small embroidered shoes are pretty and lovable, however, the products wrapped inside are deformed and represent vulgar culture.
Secret, 2007 - 2010, 121.9 x 91.4cm, oil on linen

A pair of embroidered little shoes placed on an opened book; the illustration on that page presents a peeking young maid hiding behind the screen.  Beautifully embroidered shoes suggest sex in the feudal eras, where “male authority” driven society became a tradition. Women did not have rights; they are subordinate characters of marriage and sex. Because of these depressions, they form a devious aesthetic appeal.  The sexual demands of bound feet women in feudal periods became their illusionary world.


  Book Tower, 2007, 121.9 x 91.4cm, oil on linen

© Du Chonggang, 2010

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