Rêve de Chagrin – HAN Xiaoliang
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The famous British author Aldous Huxley once said in “The Doors of Perception”, that “The keen perception of colors is the most luxurious gift that human had ever received from sense evolution. Most of animals possess only the minimal sense to colors for living purpose. Therefore, going for black and white, is a way that artist applied to retrieve the primitive view for the world. Screening out all the hustle and bustle and enrich the senses silently in this pure light-shadow and this infinitive grey. Little by little, the edges of traces move to the middle of image, like the flood inundates the earth.
Choosing black and white is a way to gradually exclude the documentary language and materiality of photography, lead to time fluctuation, space change and poetic bloom. Han’s photography resides in a synecdoche game: a nude knee, an indifference arm, a branch without leaves – indicating an immense world which will bring all kinds of possibilities, and become a monument in this vacuum existence. Just like Andre Breton searched for at the boundary of reality: a spiritual point where the life and the death, the reality and the imagination, the past and the future, the communicated and uncommunicated, the height and the short all stop being contradictory.
In Hans’ photos, the unexpected occasions are waiting for us in their proper solutions: those who are intimate, embarrassed, pained, and indifferent, once they were captured by the artist’s camera, all transformed into being frank, comfortable, vivid, and calm. He described his art as: “the life presented by a view of spectator, the idealized misery turned into being poetic. It seems that in my unconsciousness, I try to rediscover the dignity and attention for the figures in the photos.”
Each photo is an isolated islet. Every figure in the photo can be senses some sacrifice. Just like Huxley wrote about human destiny: The martyrs go hand in hand into the arena; they are crucified alone. The individuals’ destinies in micro-lens silently dissolve into larger group. The artist is fascinated by this intimate and pathetic art emotion: the aircraft fall onto the sun, the brushwood growing high, the tattoo on girl’s neck, the underwear at the end of path, and the car relic piling up… All those objects reach out to the artist’s deepest mind where is dark but lively, and also become the déjà-vu of us.
Han does not hide his admiration to some great Japanese photographer – those who are also famous for black and white photography: Eiko Hosoe and his dramatic restitution of body and spirit; Kinshin Shinoyama and his re-aestheticized nudity; Shomei Tomastu and his Japan in the past. Han respects their passion on motherland, and devotes himself on his dreamy “island”. The ideal is already there: dispose of all the grand stories, returning back to the sobriety of photography; retrieving nostalgia in a small frame; searching for an impossible hometown in this insensible era: the noisy alley, the hot and class, the train, the suburban bistro in hopper style – this is not the China in the typical cliché stereotype, but the China of my home – a fragile paradisal territory, in Asia.
Since 2014, the artist stop painting, however, his reflection still prolongs in the photography. All the forms eventually converge into a desire – a desire of dream. Square – a shape that Malevitch believe to be the supreme, is a precious equilibrium and comfort, where collecting the reality, the memory, the meditation, and more importantly the “noisy solitude”.