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Out of Nothing
by Chen Haiyan

Wu Yuntie’s painting is “good-looking”, not only for the refined and beautiful effect but also for many inexplicable things filled up in the work, which makes it interesting. To me, he is also interesting, because he is a thinking and questioning stubborn person. For example, he once recorded a song which sounds like an over-careful Young Werther, and also a sunshine and poetic spring cowboy. I feel very tired these days. The information transfer speed of the brain’s neurons is affected. But subconsciously, this might be the best condition to write something for his exhibition. Like what he and his work present, that is out of nothing. I chose a song named Your Inexplicable Brain from my computer and played on loop. Then I follow the flow of mind. This is Wu Yuntie’s way of painting, as well as mine.

Wu Yuntie was born in the late 70s. He had been a teacher before but he didn’t want to submit to the system, so he “escaped” to Beijing and became a pure artist. His character seems free but tangled at the same time. If speaking in an irresponsible and arbitrary way, this can be the collective character of the 70s. I’m also tangled because I’m one of the 70s. One writer said that one’s work and value shall be traced back to his background and time. The 70s’ is a tangled time. People have experienced too many earthshaking changes and stimulations before personal philosophy and wisdom get mature. We grow up among a mess of ideas and dreams, grow old unconsciously only to find no result of tanglement. We have been left behind by successors before uttering some sound. But the more ordinary life is, the more we yearn for the spirit. We strive for living as long as we can breath. As for the concern of the world, we can’t help starching our bodies from the ash of the passing time and nagging noisy nonsense. It is a kind of insuppressible expression. We cry and write for our generation, turning the strict poker face of ethical art critic into favorable painted face, reckless and indulgent. Because the lonely 70s are not qualified to be young cynic, we can only take back our sneer boldly by the dauntless spirit of entertainment and attitude of game so as to cover up the weak heart. It is just like these paintings in front of you which seem vague, unintelligible, and psychedelic but actually are sorrow and solitude from the deep void contained by the pilgrims who have walked for a long and hard journey.

Wu Yuntie likes to use acrylic and ink to wash the rice paper creating a background with textures and colors like the traditional manual dye house’s flow-line production. After the process of rough and mass production, Wu Yuntie turns from dyeing worker to cartographer to repair, add, attach and depict on the semi-finished product. All the inspirations like small rain drops and clouds fall to the paper, then melt, spread and evaporate. This process goes round and round in an endless succession. The occasional and spontaneous images are frozen by the modern expression of Chinese painting and specious figurative elements, and finally completed into a final product. It’s different from the commercial paintings. The “dye house” owner only creates sample manuscript for himself. It will never be duplicated, even when it earns a good market. These rare dispirited works stubbornly determined to become the unique copy.  

Wu Yuntie’s thought flies freely from heaven to earth in streams of consciousness filled up with imaginative creatures, which could be surrealism, as if he were the slave of his consciousness and painting were just obedient and following-up. The leading figure of stream of consciousness writing in literature is the British writer Virginia Woolf. Such recognition and title were accepted later because people thought that words were the code of abstract and rational thinking. But painting and art could always be prophetic. They were not only recognized earlier, but also it’s hard to conclude who was the representative painter or artist. This clearly indicates that the motivation of art is the irrational stream of consciousness. An artist shall have skillful technique, free visual expressions and unique painting language; more important, the artist can make full use of his consciousness to create the stream. In my opinion, those who deserve the name of “artist” should be experienced veterans who are unconventional with extraordinary imagination and emotion. The developed right brain is in charge of imaginal thinking; while the left brain may be paralyzed full of the paranoid and nervosity that normal mass can’t understand. If these spirits from the heaven hope to keep the easily vanishing talent or experience, they must endure the unpredictable of the destiny. Dissociation is an objective state of life while travel is a mental state of creation. Too rational, sophisticated and not egotistical enough may be a horrible poison for an artist to kill his art life. No matter how people evaluate, I insist art should be more irrational. This is different from designs which rely on rationality. Perhaps I can take Wu Yuntie and his paintings to commit a perjury. The irrationality and unconsciousness in the paintings deeply imprint the artist’s visual memory and emotional experience, which intertwining like his favorite trees with over grown branches of swollen tubers and colorful washes. They appear and disappear, become background or foreground, and irrationally evolve and grow, blooming strange exoplanet flowers accompanied with species living only in fantasy world. This is “out of nothing” like the founder of Five-Dou-Grain Taoism Zhang Daoling’s spells, which has form, expression, inexplicable natural spirit root and connection of heaven from earth. Whether witchcraft or Daoism, Wu Yuntie’s spells can’t poison, can’t summon gods or ghosts, nor can cure disease and prevent disaster. These spells in the sense of art is only significant to himself, which is a self-healing process and self-entertaining game, Alice in wonderland, and the toy aircraft, robot and water pistol in a boy’s hand. The game process is solely personal, rooted in reality but above reality. An unexplainable maze comes from reality and fantasy.

Translation: Fan Chen
翻 译:范 晨