Outlet of the secrecy of her heart - About Lily’s painting art


Feng Boyi

Lily represents her painting art mainly through focusing on the existence status of contemporary reality circumstance, including the existing contradiction and embarrassment, distress and absurdity etc. Her representation on such plight is not the simple utilization of customary traditional resources and symbol system on reality side, and nor the magnificent narration on the extended cultural memory, but is a missed place in the secrecy of the heart, which is secret, complex and lost in a mundane order.     

As far as the depth of the heart is concerned, it is a mysterious atmosphere with strange feeling in her paintings. The forest, the lion, the sky and desolate scene are the natural objects he likes to use in her new works 160 decibel, but she is not depicting the natural scenery, and just has the life experience, thinking cognition integrated in the space of man and beast, scenery and objects of nature. In the black, white and gray pictures, she repeatedly depicts the forests and the lions and constructs a kind of wonderful reality space by means of linear structure with rigid edges. Relying on trunk and twisted branches with deep color, a helpless plight in which her or our tangling and entangling in a world full of material desires is represented. With aggressive greeting and welcome and silence of the lion, a sadness atmosphere is underlined. Those pictures fully imply the distortion on human psychology, religion, fate and subconsciousness in the period of social transformation. Perhaps, it is just because she has keenly felt the unsettled social reality, therefore she gives exhibition of the ferocious beast and human perversity, thus forms the outstanding characteristics of this new works, i.e., through its or her or his specific behavioral status, namely with discourse way of animal fables, more and deeper symbol and enlargement on real life are achieved, and the inner implication of speech is enriched and extended.       

Undoubtedly, the allegorical narrative strategy is wise, but presents a challenge for the artist. As a representation of allegory, its success or not, from a certain angle, also depends on the media the artist chose, i.e. whether the media can be naturally integrated with the ideas and behaviors she presented, so that the viewers can naturally lead their feelings to the allegorical level. Descartes ever said that animal was a mechanical device on the biological side. Whereas, in the works 160 decibel, the lion is an impersonated symbol of a soul, standing for fierce, power and desire.  It appears that a yearning for freedom and free from confinement is experienced in the process of imposing, patience and burden. Adopting 160 decibel as the titles of such series of works, according to the Lily’s saying: the sound level 44 dB is acceptable to human, and 160 DB can basically achieve the level hard to unacceptable, i.e. at deafening level. I think this is a kind of underlying convulsion on crying for oneself suggested by the title. In fact, this comes down in one continuous line with her series of works Lost created during 2010-2012. If it is said that the simple, neutral figures Lily narrated in the series of works Lost means “a loss of faith”, because “ human is full of eschatological realism feelings nowadays” (please refer to interview artist Lily on works Lost in Germany show,  "lost", interviewer: Liu Fan), Resulting in more perception that unspeakable mystery and impenetrable confused plight appear, then in her new works, through melancholy shrouding in touch and texture, the image changing from human to animal image and space is realized. Whereas, the existence of space, can be used to review the existence of human at the perspective of pure biology and species. I guess it is the inner worries of Lily. She is intentionally, through the brush in her hand, creating a kind of turbulent, twisting, and splitting the world in the pictures -- nightmares mixed together bring about a surreal landscape and produce a kind of context with mystery, twist and cliffhanging. So there is no outlet for the secrecy of heart, it is just like an invisible nightmare in the midnight. Though you have known all elements in it. It can still bring you a sudden shock to your heart in dark night and become a fabricated idea you can never get ride of. At the same time, materiality and metaphor of wonderful plants are in displaying her own experience, emotion and memory tension. Perhaps the misty illusions and visual fidelity of the picture is just tension of her inherent mentality. Such depression of the tension is actually the target of a certain past experience, which, in the result,  has made her creation have such a kind of feeling like a in secrecy nightmare. In particular, she does not represent the consciousness of existing problem as a kind of helpless uneasiness dominated by “environment”, but relates the problem with the young man or girl who has to, by making their own choices, actively rise to reality challenge and test pressure in the background of contemporary society.

In addition to the polyphonic structure of inner narrative discourses as well as multi voice resonation means, the essence of Lily’s painting art lies on series of visual tension settings as she disposes with the images. This tension is not only existed in a single form of works, but takes on a kind of space time structure with characteristics of personage and animal destiny and semantics. That is to say, it is a kind of comprehensive arrangement, which puts the picture in a saturated vision field. With his / her standing posture, wandering status, or floating in the air, the picture almost covers the whole existence space of human and nature and artificial sphere, while its specific activity is still maintained in the dark place and penetrated into representation of many mundane realities. Such a kind of glamorous time tension with multi polarization, no doubt, provides a broad and profound survival background for her as she represents the breadth and depth of social reality in her artistic expression. This kind of mysterious trembling, serves the texture of main visual parts. Though she does not disrupt the order in the structure of natural scenery, the shimmering fragments are constructed by means of texture with black, white and grey. The illusion is mixed in the reality, which makes interval and intermix of the reality and illusion, and turns visibility into shade and shadow with reality and illusion. The capacity of the theme is expanded by means of superimpose. The simple linear feeling rises to be a kind of diffused factor. This is the splice of traces she carried out in mottled background, and is also a kind of touch and awareness of interrelation. This is not the actual image depicting the form of nature. What is more important, it reproduces the vicissitudes of relations between human and the nature and the society, and thereby, the personal fate under reality crisis is being closed watched, perhaps, brings about viewers’ various sad feelings and identification with redemption.

Therefore, Lily is always, with tragedy and destiny expression in her eyes, watching you watch, which is just like the eyes of the lions you have noticed in her works.  She enchases the soul of tiny spots in darkness. Lingering in the place with her expression of eyes, will deeply move us along with the surprised panic.  In my opinion, the glamour of her extremely personal artistic choice just lies in her infatuation and the brave and warm exhibition of mystery and unrest. Especially, as the elvish characters and animals are concerned, an “unbridled” status of affairs in her heart can be reflected, i.e. the implication of grotesquery is merged into the unruly behavior and a kind of feeling, persistence and hope in the hustle and bustle reality.   Moreover, I believe the true soul is not actually interpretable.