Opening time:4p.m. June 2, 2012
Duration: 2012.06.03 -- 2012.06.18
Location: 2nd floor exhibition hall of Building No.3, Today Art Museum

Exhibition Preface

                                                                                        Ambiguity Series by Liu Chunbing

A few days ago, Chunbing came to Wuhan and showed me his Ambiguity Series, a large-scale suite of painting which took him years to create. He said: “Ambiguity is a reflection of the metropolitan romance, in ways of ink-painting and oil-painting.”---- The former part of his words implied the theme of the painting, while the latter part explained the communicating form. The painter incepted the theme of “metropolitan romance” from a familiar bar in Wuhan which he used to visit, and then he expanded the theme into “men and women in the city life”. Leading characters of the paintings are mostly casual, idle bar girls or similar young females with a feeling of western elegance, but the key feature is the “sexy” that Chunbing mentioned in the postscript of the painting album. In the bar, they are playing games of “choosing and being chosen” while in the paintings they are the ones that “being appreciated”, both of which would not exist without “sexy”. Since performing the opening up policy and the market economy, not only have various ideological trends, fashions and pop arts poured into PRC, but also have all kinds of entertainment places boomed quickly, including bars, night clubs and ball rooms. Paris life in bars that depicted by impressionism painters of the 19th century has swiftly turned into a modern scenery in Chinese metropolises. “Sexy” young females appearing in TVs, movies, stage performances, commercial advertisements or opening ceremonies, closing ceremonies, athletic contests and large auto shows has become a natural and “necessary” phenomenon in the capital-ruled society life. While “metropolitan romance” is a more extensive scope, Ambiguity Series depicts a corner of it and reveals its trueness----- a trueness of the reality and history which is natural to attract common spectators and record the current history.

Chunbing chose “ambiguity” to indicate the ambiguous relationship between men and women met and got familiar in the bar. The interesting thing is that, as a painting work, the Ambiguity Series has got a feature of “ambiguity” in its expression. The painter has showed a. ambiguous attitude towards his depicting targets, especially those sexy females: is it appreciating or criticizing? It seems hard to define. Chunbing explained that his paintings were a “witness” and “record” of the “forms” and “colors” of modern cities with “a feeling of nostalgia”. It is also a historical reality that a middle-aged painter incidentally ran into a modern life and wandering between the “past” in memory and the “reality” in the current times.

Ambiguity Series was initially a small-sized ink-painting with a charm of quiet elegance. However, in the aspects of theme, character image, space structure, coloring mode and mundane happiness, the series are closer to impressionism and fauvism, such as paintings of Cézanne, Matisse and Dufy, etc., some of them has got a trace of imitation. To some degree, Chunbing “translated” the theme, style and charm of the Paris paintings into a Chinese theme and ink form, which expanded the subject, technique and style of ink-paintings so as to tell the stories of modern life in a closer distance and improve the expression of ink-painting. After the good comments on the ink-paintings, Chunbing again “translated” them into oil paintings with larger size, brighter color, powerful sense of reality and a kind of unsmooth, na?ve brushwork. In his opinion, the first “translation” attached a sense of oil painting to ink-painting, while the second “translation” attached a sense of ink-painting to oil painting. However, personally I prefer those ink-paintings with a more powerful subjectivity and a stronger touch of exploratory behavior, which are weakened in the oil painting to satisfy the market and common needs. In current times, an artwork has to be “ambiguous” between elegance and secularity in order to enter a market. Nevertheless, the ambiguity between market and art-pursuing is just a strategy of the wise men. I think Chunbing is sober on that matter.

   Lang Shaojun

   April, 2011                                                                                                                               



Liu Chunbing