Between the Real and the Imaginary:Lei Yan and Song Ziping’s arts
Between the Real and the Imaginary
A compendium of paintings by Lei Yan and Song Ziping
by Sun Gou Juan
This show features two female painters. Though sharing a studio space they each possess different backgrounds and mentalitites. For example, Lei Yan has been formally trained and under a restrained and quiet appearance she conceals a sustained intensity of emotion. Song Ziping, on the other hand, is selftaught. She has a happy and romantic tendency yet shows an occasional glimpse of distress and hesitency.
Lei Yan was born into an army family and has also been a soldier herself. Lei Yan´s painting method is rigorous, much like her nature is. This characteristic was formed by her army career, which impressed her soul deeply, causing her to be equally optimistic and melancolic. By disturbing this balance and abolishing her melancoly, it is clear that through her art the artist attempt to free herself of the burden of this history.
The traditional poem “The Four Season Song” has been the main subject of her paintings for nearly two years. All of these paintings create a secret and nouminal space. In shedding her somber past, the artist permits herself to be represented as one dressed in an ephemeral skirt, allowing her imagination to experience the feeling of grace and comfort. This is a kind of exploration, a free flight of the heart. In these paintings mirrors reflect the artist´s silhoutte as she gazes at herself. She has been doing this for a long time before the viewer´s arrival, and she will continue to gazing until she knows herself completely. Perhaps she can survive the seige of her past and regain the freedom of her original innocence.
Having never formally studied art, Song Ziping´s paintings make little use of traditional technique. What she takes more interest in is the expression of her emotions, and as emotion as the long-standing subject in the life of every woman. Her painting The Distressing and Lonely City is an example of the theme she has been depicting in recent years. Most of the rooms in her paintings are illusionary, showing what lies beneath the physical reality of the rooms and the city-scapes. The painter´s vivid mood is being shown unintentionally in everyone of this dream-scapes: is this woman expecting someone? Who is pacing up and down in the lonely room and the street corner? For whom is the chair, the bathtub? Will this visitor soon come, or has he just left? In the painting the distressed flower with fragile beauty is drifting through the dream-scapes, into a dim void. On the streets, which represents her subjective world, she walks in loneliness, even though in the objective world, on the real streets, there are many people and she is not alone. She journeys with hope and expectation, yet never being consoled: still undettered she will travel this long and lonely road.
The autobiography of these two artists are clearly expressed in their works. Song Ziping lay more stress on exploring emotion, while Lei Yan concerns herself more with the question of her own spirit. they are not describing the material world but are questioning the inward spirit and emotion.