(B. 1963)
Sister Plum Blossom
signed in Chinese; signed 'LING Jian Ling' in Pinyin; dated '2009' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
diameter: 190 cm. (74 7/8 in.)
Painted in 2009

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Felix Yip
Felix Yip

Lot Essay

Both painted in 2009, Qianmen Young Master (Lot 1398) and Sister Plum Blossoms (Lot 1397) describe Ling Jian's statements about a certain performance of beauty in our contemporary society, its transience and the ironic truth behind it. The bewitching beauty and absorbed gaze of the figures coax a dialogue of seduction with the viewer that is framed in a metaphorical peephole. The notion of religious adoration is also brought forth in this classical tondo format. But as the veil of these over-idealized faces of amalgamated, perfected features subsides into an unapproachable and untouchable immateriality, the work underlines the fleeting nature of beauty and serves to question the fetishistic chase of synthetic perfection and beauty ideals. The artist once stated, "These beautiful men and women in my paintings are simply spiritual representations of the Chinese and their newfound complacency towards neo-nationalism, as well as towards their values and aesthetic perspective." Red remains the symbolic colour for Communist China. The stigmata on the male figure's neck become a symbol that serves to portray an ambivalent portrait of cultural identity.
Ultimately, Ling Jian's creative works are explorations into the shifting socio-political atmosphere where a rigid, operating ideology is inundated by the pleasures of contemporary capitalist economy.

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