If there is only one vase in the world, the capacity of concept “vase” just extends from that unique vase, which is very limited, every image about the vase is very “heavy”, which could greatly fill up the recollection and imagination to “vase”. If there are two vases in the world, the capacity of the concept “vase” increases, and the weight of single image decreases.
Population of concept and image affects weight of image; weight of image affects our way of seeing, which then affects the weight and way of painting. Perhaps, that’s why every time when image got revolution (camera, industrialization, internet and digitalization etc), painting was claimed to be dead.
Nowadays there are countless vases, and thousands times of image to that countlessness. So does that mean an observational painting depicting a vase being light as air and meaningless? For sure, no. But I’m not interested to fight for painting’s value by romantic spirituality, or philosophic essence, or mental satisfaction anymore, just liked we don’t need to say “I love you” to parents every day.
However, recently I think, one of the differences between “just being a painter” and “being a contemporary artist” is, the former focuses on farming; the latter focuses on harvesting and finding what can be harvested. In simple words, it is the difference and balance between in and out.
If I am not going to merely be a painter but also a “contemporary artist”, for me that means, not merely enjoying the well-developed context and way of Painting, but also being greedy to explore my own way (personality) of painting, in this sense, a painting depicting a vase may be non-effective to contour personality. It’s not about values of painting, but about way of painting. The problem is, we are not that single-mind in daily environment.
With internet and digital technology, we could see hundred images about vase within 3 minutes, but 3 minutes may not be enough for simple observation to a vase. Quality of images orders the position and sequence of impression, but quantity of images is more dominating in forming our relationship to image, such as way of seeing and imagination. If “way of seeing” constructs “personality”, and if I want to harvest this “personality” more conveniently, maybe I should collaborate with this “way of seeing” more directly.
My practice motif is martial action, which is movement, and the movement in mind is actually a compressed package of images. In other words, the concept behind my motif is about the leap among images, and among mental images. Population of image of movement is naturally much greater than that of still object such as vase, and it may be more extreme after image explosion, which makes single image or figuration of movement become lighter and insufficient to embody my concept. Besides, is the capacity of single image decreasing and getting less able to carry heavy duty? In this case, appropriating images to somehow recreate my way of seeing, dividing the duties away from figuration, seems to be more convenient to assist painting (embodying mental images).
Wai Kit Chan (Hector)