The creation of Epidemic and Bygone Days Yueyang was motivated by the current COVID-19 pandemic, typi-fying a unique moment in our historical time. Through these two evocative ink paintings the viewer is invited to enter a multidimensional landscape, in this particular case a space of sorrow, uncertainty and death.
➤ Chen San, Epidemic, 95 x 76 cm, Mixed Media On Paper,2020
They are especially indicative of our era, an era we are very much still part of, in which grief and loss start to form part of our daily life. At first glance, we can notice from Epidemic the anxiety and frustration we might all be feeling in this precarious time. Chen’s abstract landscapes with striking bold colours and dark lines leave us wondering what was behind the weight of his deep brush strokes. While the purple and black strokes add to the mystery and conflict in Chen’s ink paintings, the yellow and blue lines give us a glimmer of light and possibility. What journey does the artist wish us to take? And which dimensional space and time the shadows on the landscapes challenge the viewer to reflect on? The conflicts, possibilities and potentials might have implied that the journey is hopeful, but the pain might be too heavy a burden for many to endure.
➤Chen San, Bygone Days Yueyang, 79 x 76 cm, Mixed Media On Paper,2020
The complexity of Epidemic is gently balanced by the simplicity of Bygone Days Yueyang. Through the epidemic many have lost their lives unexpectedly and unnecessarily. The souls of our dead are not at peace. You can feel their presence in the distance, their sadness, their lament. The tower cries out memories of histories of time past – but also of pain in the making, of pain not yet faded. However, there is a history still to be written, as the artist wishes future generations will find their way back to the tower in time, and be reminded that it still stands tall and strong regardless of the adversity and the weathering of time. The human condition is fragile, but with our memories we keep time alive.
Dr Marcel Reyez-Cortez