(Chinese, B. 1965)
Feng Zikai: New Interpretation of Old Verses II
signed in Chinese (lower right); inscribed in Chinese (on the reverse) mixed media on canvas
128.3 x 108.2 cm. (50 1/2 x 42 5/8 in.)
Executed in 2006

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Eric Chang
Eric Chang

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Lot Essay

My works are born out of fire.
- Xue Song

Art creation and inspiration have always been deeply related, and Xue Song's art is inspired by fire. In the 1990s a fire burned Xue Song's studio to ashes. His collection of paintings and books were reduced to charred, unrecognizable fragments. The material loss did not detrimentally impede his career; instead the burned paper ashes inspired his creative thinking and lead him to a new path in his artistic development. From that time onwards, Xue Song deliberately uses the ashes of printed matter to create collaged images on canvas, employing iconic political and popular figures, Chinese calligraphy, landscape, and even Coca-Cola bottles, to construct new meanings and to create a critical discourse between old and the new, the East and the West.

Fire has long been associated thought of as a destructive force, but also a force of alchemical transformation. In China in particular, it is a symbolic element that connotes the traditional funerary customs and common rituals, where the burning process connotes the ability to connect generations together and to transcend time and space.
The Four Seasons: Poems in New Painting (Lot 462) and Feng Zikai - New Interpretation of Old Poems (Lot 610) use traditional Chinese landscape paintings as their reference. The compositions are deconstructed and recomposed into a new modern artistic language that emphasizes the delineation of contours in black and bold colour blocks, bringing to mind the visual vocabulary of both Chinese ink-and-brush paintings and Western pop art. In Mao (Lot 540, 546), Xue Song's reinterpretation of such a culturally charged image also comes to symbolize the rebirth of China in the post Cultural Revolution era. As such, the artist's works not only represent the rebirth of his artistic production following a personal incident, but in successfully combining Chinese and Western, traditional and modern elements into his unique visual language, they also imply the renascence of China in the post-Cultural Revolution era.

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