The Export of Mental World——the Interpretation of Yuan Yuan's Paintings

23/10/2009 00:00

    As a woman, Yuan Yuan is still very young, her experience of social life is not complicated, but she has a very rich and delicate psychological world. As a painter, she is on the threshold of her art road, but she already has her own individual and mature painting style. Yuan Yuan's painting is the record of her psychological world, reading her painting is gaining an insight into her true and hidden inner world.  

    Yuan Yuan has a sensitive heart, and her temperament inclines to melancholy. According to Aristotle’s saying, famous people in the fields of philosophy, state activities, poetry, or the plastic arts are almost melancholic. Plato also believes that melancholic persons experience higher than the medium level, their talent is far more than others. Although we are still unable to predict the future of the artistic achievements of Yuan Yuan, but the young artist do show a very good painting talent. Facing canvas, Yuan Yuan not only know what to paint, but also know how to draw, therefore, in the world of painting she is a handy, freedom Heroine.

    Yuan Yuan's works are representational, and are always themed with figures. If we say that her work depicts drama, then she is always the drama of the heroine. Except a handful of static self-portraits and single portraits, Yuan Yuan's figure paintings are mostly composed of a man and women, and with plots. However, it is surprising that, in the Yuan Yuan's paintings, we almost do not see everyday life scenarios. Not so much a painter depicts the story of her experience as it is her heart fantasy scenes.

    It is a one compressed space, all the characters are arranged in the foreground, and they provoke audiences to look at them. It is a pornographic scene. There, men and women like vines and trees twine together; the naked women tend to have exposure of sexual organs. But there is no love, joy, but rather violence and injuries. The women in her works often show panic and anxiety, along with their distorted body, crazy action, the entire image is a painful symbol. Yuan Yuan's painting appears to be realistic, narrative, but is actually rich in emotion, fantasy. Although the figures in the paintings are mostly based on real models, after her heart reflection, an objective image will become weird. Deformed characters, a riot of images and non-reproducibility of the strong colors make her paintings have a pure, Munch expressionism style character.

    There is no quiet, warmth and happiness; her paintings express only agitation, anxiety and fear. Such sentiments reflect the feelings of some people in our times, especially the psychological feelings of adolescent girls; it mainly comes from the artist's own life experience. Yuan Yuan told me that she came from a single-parent families, she brought up by her mother. Parents separated and her father's untimely death made that she never knew what fatherly love. Family life, especially the absence of fatherly love brought her great personality and psychological negative effects. Anxiety, fear and insecurity are lingering in her heart. Social life and interpersonal relationships,many of the things can touch her sensitive heart, A trifle , in the eyes of others not worth mentioning, and also provoked a huge waves in her heart. The little things not worth mentioning in the eyes of others also can provoke huge waves in her heart. In Yuan Yuan’s painting, the sorrow, anxiety and jealousy, and other psychological phenomena become recurrent themes. For her, these things have formed an unresolved "complex" in her mind, only through painting; she can get some degree of resolve. Yuan Yuan said: "For me, everything is unreliable. From childhood to adulthood, for a lot of things I gradually lost the trust. Although I do not believe everything, I still need to express, I need an emotional sustenance place. “She paints as the export of psychological world, even as a recipe for self-heal the psychological trauma, because of this, I call her paintings as "psychological Expressionism".

    In ancient China,art plays an important part in political education , it records progress and retrogression of history, educates the public, and also has the functions of moral upbringing and ethical education, in our days, art reveals social reality. In such a social environment, Yuan Yuan’s painting, which represent self-psychological world, is very rare. Although the western modernism art and the concept of self-expression have been introduced into our country for many years, but for many Chinese contemporary artists, the "self-expression" is still a very unfamiliar territory. Relative to those artistic creations concerned with the political, sociological value, Yuan Yuan's painting can bring people more moving. In a sense,     Yuan Yuan is a narcissistic artist, her brush is locked in the psychological world of self-expression, and then through the expressive artistic language, she sublimates individual psychological experience into the universal human emotional experience. Yuan Yuan translates her secret psychological experience into vivid pictures, and the invisible psychological world into impressive visual images we can sense, she provides a unique and novel aesthetic specimens to the creakingly diversified art world in contemporary China.

    To see Yuan Yuan’s painting, I always think of the great Mexican painter Frida Kahlo (1907 - 1954) in the 20th century, the same self-attachment, the same anxiety, sadness, different countries, different times, and the two female artists displayed very similar inner world of women. I wish Yuan Yuan achieve notable achievements in the arts as Carlo, but I do not want to see Yuan Yuan has the misfortune of life like ailing Carlo.

    I sincerely wish Yuan Yuan have a happy life outside of painting!

         Written by Research Associate Wang Daunting, Institute of Fine Arts, Academy of Arts of China

                                                                                                  Translated by Zhang Ziqian