Song Kun belongs to the generation born in the 1970s who experienced for the first time - after years of a community oriented culture - the loneliness, absence of siblings, and questions of a single child. Her paintings are always more than just mere depictions but expressions of her psyche through characters she relates to or even herself.
In Self Portrait No. 2, the whirlpool her character stands above conveys uncertainty. The character representing herself has a phantasmagorical appearance and attire, she is an allegory. Her purple nails draw attention to a smear of materials, inclusive of glass resin, mutton and lettuce, a reminder of arte povera among other art practices that uses organic and degradable materials, often a reference to the passing of time and the ephemera of life. The character is holding this flame like attribute; her posture crouches protectively over it. From it emerge horizontal red lines cascading in drops washing down. Under the made up eyes, the same pink tones surrounding the flame seem like a flow of tears and mask her expressionless face. One pupil is drawn naively, the other is a glass eye starring into the void. She appears vulnerable from this absence of expression, probably in a state of contemplation or questioning. The violent contrast between the white and red tones as well as the round shapes and abrupt washes also embody a complex feeling of disorientation, absence, speechlessness and disconnection.
Self Portrait No. 2 for Song Kun relates to the practice of ‘stream of consciousness’, it is not simply a depiction but a window to the artist’s soul, revealing an intimate personal monologue. The intensity of which is rendered through a contrasting visual language, subtle and delicate on one hand and disturbing, almost offensive, on the other. Yet Song Kun achieves a balance; the spectator is intrigued, sympathetic but unable to relate to the character because she appears unreachable. Self Portrait No. 2 is a documentation of her mind state; such shared intimacy is enhanced through an autobiographical quality, providing insights into the artist’s world.