(XIE JINGLAN, Chinese, 1921-1995)
signed 'LALAN' in Pinyin (lower right); inscribed '2500 52 Expo 60 16' (on the stretcher)
oil on canvas
145.5 x 113.5 cm. (57 1/4 x 44 3/4 in.)
Painted circa 1950s

Brought to you by

Felix Yip
Felix Yip

Lot Essay

Art is often divided into two categories, those that are static, like architecture, sculpture, and painting, and those likedance, music, and poetry, which are viewed within the framework of musical rhythm and time. The artist Lalan has worked between these two discourses, sorting through the resemblance between these categories in order to produce a unique art form. In her early years, Lalan practiced soprano, composed music and studied modern dance. She held her first solo exhibition in 1960 and won a prize awarded by the Minister of Culture (France) in 1973 due to her study and promotion of "Integrated Arts", which consisted of music, dance and painting, acknowledging her contributions to exploring cross-discipline practices, but also to develop an aesthetic and expression that crossed time and space.
Ending her marriage with the Chinese artist Zao Wou-ki in the mid-1950s was no doubt a turning point of Lalan. She once expressed that she "had grasped the essence of modern paintings from Zao. Not until my role as Muse changed did I realize that I couldn't live without painting". Despite the fact that Lalan began creating abstract paintings under Zao's inspiration, the intrinsic spirits and extrinsic form of their works were significantly different. Lalan initiated her unique artistic language in the world of Western Abstract Expressionism in 1950s. Her early work Abstraction (Lot 2152) is dominated by a red tone. The sharp red and dark brown brush strokes are full of strength. Short lines interweave with each other and run in all directions, suggesting that the artist's hand movements are impromptu and accidental. Lalan created the space with a wide range of tones of red. The multi-point perspective composition in this painting is different from that in the landscape paintings comprised a clear and harmonious front, middle and background in Song Dynasty. Abstraction is more a close observation of movements and sceneries, reflecting a stress on the individuality of body language in dance. Martha Graham's modern dance stresses on "Contraction" and "Release", which encourage people to present their psychological changes, emotions and subconscious through body movements. Chinese traditional landscape painters endeavored to form "a space where appeals to viewers to live in and travel to". Nevertheless, Lalan depicted the environment and territory with movement, inventing an unprecedented sense of space in paintings filled with emotion and movement.

More from Asian 20th Century Art (Day Sale)

View All
View All