Resonance and Contrast
Sui Cheng has expressed his concerns about environment via different forms of art---oil painting, ink painting and printmaking. In a way these concerns are similar and even consistent. To express the same theme in different forms is like to tell a story in different languages, and ultimately the particularity of each form and language can be shown. By contrasting these different styles, people will find the particularity of fine arts: oil painting is so different from ink painting and ink painting is so different from printmaking. And woodcut works are not like copper plate works at all even though they are both called printmaking works. Of course, they are far away from works of installation and image. This is like when we speak the same sentence, we will find that shanghai dialect, Beijing dialect and Cantonese are so different. If we want to find out the specification of a language, we have to compare it with another one. It has been discussed a lot about the differences between ink painting and oil painting. And someone has even tried to blend the difference of the two together. But there are very few who can show these differences in Sui Cheng’s way. He has constantly tried to express the same theme in different languages. And it is this constant practice that renders him realize the differences of various art techniques, just like a person can grasp the differences of two languages after he has spoken them for a long time. Though the theme in Sui Cheng’s works is obvious, I can feel something hidden in the images, a theme out of the images of his works. That is his secrete desire, a desire to study on the different expression of different art forms. If these various forms of art are exhibited in the same hall, their language differences will be as plain as daylight. And people will naturally make their own judgment and get their preference. This is not a preference for theme (the theme is the same), but a preference for an art form. People will choose their favorite one among works of oil painting, ink painting and printmaking, just like they will choose to speak in their favorite language: Shanghai dialect, Beijing dialect or Cantonese.
However, the consistent theme in Sui Cheng’s works is still very important. He is not simply studying the differences of art forms. He is trying to tell us in the simplest way that the skyscrapers nowadays are taking place of the past mountains; the boulevards are taking place of the past lakes. People used to feel small in front of mountains, and now feel tiny in front of these skyscrapers. Sui Cheng’s works have an amazing effect. He can connect the past and the future, and his works contain the past and the future. He makes them appear in his images simultaneously. They are the past---rolling mountains and flowing rivers; meanwhile they are the future---skyscrapers and bustling streets. These totally different sceneries and living styles are shown in Sui Cheng’s works harmoniously. On the one hand, he has weakened the artistic mood and imposing atmosphere in ancient landscape painting, opening a way leading to the urban skyscrapers from an abstract height; On the other hand, he has smoothened the toughness and obstinateness of the urban skyscrapers, opening a way leading to a natural mountain ridge in bending and spiral lines. He is looking for a middle ground of the two to guarantee the possibility of combining these expression ways together. He expresses water in the same way---to keep balance between the ripple of the water and the flatness of the streets. Moreover, he manages the relationships among mountains, rivers and humans in an ironic way. There used to be a tacit agreement between human beings and the nature. They had a symbiotic relationship. But now mountains and rivers have retreated, human beings have to reach a tacit agreement with skyscrapers, boulevards, and streets. Thus both history and reality exist in Sui Chang’s works in a way of resonance and contrast, just like his different forms of expression---printmaking, oil painting and ink painting---exist in the same way: resonance and contrast.
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