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Who Can See Cities

Haijun Du

Apr 13, 2013 ~ May 18

Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever,and their dwelling places to all generations; they call their lands after their own names.
Old Testament, Psalms, 49:11

What is the city over the mountains
Cracks and reforms and bursts in the violet air

The Waste Land T.S.Eliot

The scene is compact, however a void rules its background. Just what is it? A hanging garden? A city within a city? The tower of Babel? A metropolitan generating its own explosion? A future invention for vertical living? Who can see these cities? Who can see the people on the stage? Depth separates a city from a stage. The surfaces of both being lifted and installed in a four-sided frame has now become a painting. In a godless nation where spiritual experience is a rare phenomenon, can we still demand ideals and beliefs? For artists, especially for painters, we should not ask them what they want to express in their paintings, but what we can see in them. The fundamental task of an artist is not to deal with social critique or self-irony, rather it is to deal with those existential dilemma that we all encounter. No one ever asked us if we wanted to be born, but nevertheless we are all cast into this world, gathered in one sphere which we call “the city” .

The main task of a painter is to present the world. Although he may only grasp the surface of this world, for him it may also mean the destined seduction of the universal secret. He keeps on reproducing it in his painting until eventually the world inside his painting becomes parallel with the world he lives in. His works characteristically carry his own storyline. They are like miniatures of life presented through these windows. Each window radiates the seductive imaginary glory that makes us believe life goes on – with or without meaning.