The Lost Glory, The stave scene
Five years have passed so quickly, yet magnificently as I have worked continuously on my paintings of abandoned work places. The state-owned porcelain factory from the northeast Shen Yang’s Tie-si district has gone out of business 60 years ago. It still remains standing. This imposing industrial period carries a deep impression inside me; I feel a natural affinity towards this place. It has been abandoned by the giants of our social history.
It still stands: lonely, deserted, chillingly sublime and so solemn and stirring.
When this industry was is its infancy, its brightness and productivity held a great attraction. By looking closely at these ruins; I feel alone facing this grandiose edifice. There is a deserted darkness, hidden in the continual implication of waning light. I listen and hear the soul of these workers who put their lives into this place.
In my work, I have observed all the details that have deeply moved me in memory of this once life-filled building. I have struggled with my inner dialogue to find the meaning of this space. I feel at once surrounded and captured by this time spirit. There is a lofty idealism that I wish to capture myself. After so many years, I ask myself whether I can make heroes of these prisoners of time. Time has abandoned them. Time pushes inexorably forward; nonetheless, I desire to give unity to a single spirit. A spirit that gives in all its conceivable power the strength and dignity of a single life, I wish to capture and revive such a force in my painting. It’s a feeling that flies high in the sky or speaks in a low, deep voice; both allow for spaciousness.
Since 2003 my work has reached a point where my affections and understanding of Jingdezhen where I feel the life of a past life infusing these remnants of industrial giants. Yes, the columns stand lifeless and still, as does the ancient kiln and piles of old bowls, stacks of broken, dull plates, and the towering chimney. Yet, the innermost feelings of this place reverberate into my soul; incessantly. I do not feel imposing constraints of this structure, nor the lonely emptiness that is covered in dust; instead from the enormous roof the air dances and perhaps, as always, the air gives fresh hope.
As a painter, I continually seek a connection of my subject and my soul. My innermost feelings do not lie. The truth from inside is always a reality compared with the truth from the surface..
Beginning back in 2003, I started to create the “The Lost Glory” series. My inspiration was my own childhood when I remember my father’s generation struggling for a successful enterprise. I feel a sadness of a wasted effort. There is a sadness also in the blind devotion to the Communist Ideal. I wish to dispel the gloom of this era. I want to use this deadening mood of industrial movement as a spring board into a much brighter future. Let us re-consider the livlihood of our parents. In 2006, I came to Jingdezhen. When I stood in front of the old factory, I found myself following the same destiny; perhaps the same feelings as I attempt to re-create “scene” past.
Here in Jingdezhen, there was a national industrial model. Reaching back 1800 years, Jingdezhen has a long history on porcelain producing. In Ming Dynasty, the Emporer Jingde turned the city into the emperial porcelain (china) manufacturing site. This industry is exquisite. The centuries-old porcelain making process is still thriving. Jingdezhen exists currently in an aloof position. In 1980s, the economic structure of China changed, it brought social transformation. The most important state-owned porcelain factories were closed. Thousands of workers lost their jobs. Only broken and empty factories left. This porcelain environment with hand-pulled carts laden with vases, bowls, and cups, occupying the same space as the antiquated factories now bereft of any sign of life. And one or two years later, even these scenes couldn’t exist. They will be buried in Chinese-rebuilding activity. China, china. This industry was the representative of China. If these scenes of Jingdezhen were cothurnus, I would like recording them in truth. I would like to use my art to monumentalize the lost glory which is going to be buried by the realistic dust.
I want to record them faithfully. Let’s come and discover together the heroism of the past ‘Red Industry’. I use the strength of these images to resist the relentless push of time’s dust broom. I believed these words convey my sentiments. These feelings mere language and thoughts constructs cannot express. They have a direct pull on my heart where kindness and clarity dwell. The immensity of time dwells in this giant scene where it splashes like whale of the ocean; drenching me to the bone.