"People are writing (painting) in order to make the desert alive, in order to be alone but not subject to the limitations of loneliness, in order to resist the temptation of the emptiness, or at least delay the influence of the temptation. "
——Gesualdo Bufalino
Pipe Dream
Chen Haiyan
Three years ago, in 2014, Chai Yiming attempted to paint on sole cloths of shoes and held the "Pipe Dream" solo exhibition. Now, Chai is to present the same kind of works, I can only say that this is really Chailish ... ...
I once again went into Chai’s studio in a lively spring day. Chai smiled as usual, as years passed. I inadvertently caught a glimpse of a magnolia in the yard that had grown as its owner, as well as the world. Time flies, and three years is merely a simple scale of time, but if converted it into 1095 days, 26280 hours, 1576800 minutes, 94608000 seconds, every second becomes a moonlight in the water. Everything is as The Diamond Sutra says, "All conditioned phenomena are like a dream, an illusion, a bubble, a shadow, like dew or a flash of lightning; thus we shall perceive them. " In view of this view, so is Chai’s works.
After the solo exhibition, Chai has become more fascinated about this kind of work and made a plea to his old mother who is good at traditional needlework for stitching more sole cloths of shoes by using old clothes hoarded at home. In this case these handmade cloths gradually presented a spontaneous state of their "original nature". It is presented casually, fortuitously in this process that the old cloths loaded with family memories and traces of time are deconstructed and fragmented as an understanding of meditation and art of letting go. The reconfiguration and integration of the cloths not only changed the state of matter, blurred usefulness and uselessness, misplaced the time and space, but also inspired Chai’s creation combining the Taoist "Formless" philosophy with the Buddha's "everything visible is empty" in an extremely simple and natural way. Patchwork of different cloths originated from art becomes a long-lost game and communication between the mother and son. However, this turns into a ritual that the tenderness, communication and independence involved with misinterpretation and misreading, homology and diversity. It has surpassed all forms of art. Not only does this ritual reflect art, but also gives us a reason why we need art in this barren but rich world. A pipe dream is filled with illusions, visionary hopes and bubbles. Such a creation needs the artists’ aura that captures the lingering light of Yin and Yang, orderliness and disorderliness, tidiness and untidiness, system and randomness, and this is why the overall significance and artistic value of this series is greater than that of last time.
Aura, a natural talent, invisibly and untouchable, is the very trait that inspires Chai’s works. Chai’s inspirations about drawing and painting arise from the color blocking, patterns, quilting and stitching, fabrics and textures, even the bubbles and bumps uplifted occasionally while pasted by pulp or a flash of thought. He has much better master and manipulation of the control of the cloths and materials, the overall structure, and the forms. The finishing phase in this kind of painting is the only part that needs his restriction, while no more no less stokes needed. To create meaninglessness in a meaningful way. With a variety of painting "features". he depicts bizarre stories, to observe his audience’s reflections. As for the object that refers to, indicates, or intends to is whether him, her or it, becomes a trivial question. What really matters is its existence with sparkling lights, dreams, visionary hopes and bubbles! Even the concept of time that has been defined accurately by human such as second, millisecond, microsecond, nanosecond, pico second, femto second, zepto second, yocto second, atto second ... ... no matter how infinitely divided, it’s just a human’s vain hope. The significance of bizarre stories is not to explain theories, but to admonish human that “Tao” is unknowable in this so-called knowable world. Correspondingly, the core value Chai pursues is the “Tao” in art instead of painting techniques, so as ourselves, other artists and what real art should do. If not, art is merely a kitsch craft, and art works are simply commodities with pretty appearances.
In order to reach the “Tao”, Chai keeps working hard on what he has been infatuated with, and trying all kinds of possibilities for three years. No matter how the circumstance changes, how chaotic the world is, Chai puts the whole heart into his own space, seeking various materials, collecting all sorts of fertilizers and wastes (such as packaging paper and box), turns these "materials" into natural base fertilizers and uses painting brushes to water these special seeds that sown in the soil mixed with selfconsciousness. In this way, flowers with dreams, illusions and fantasies bloom.
                                                                 April 20, 2017