The exhibition attempts to study the relationships between space and color in Su Xinping’s paintings from the 1980s. Because there is only black, white, and grey, the spaces are occupied by concise imagery. Pillars are always present in the images, like symbols of human civilization. If the spatial tension between herders, white horses, and eagles are returned to a spatial, immersive experience, viewers shift from being onlookers to being people in the painting. I really wanted to experience the 1980s plains under the intense sunlight, the romantic freedom of herding life, and the unobstructed intimacy between man and nature. These elements are the abstraction of the spirit and imagination, situated in the space. In Su Xinping’s calm and introspective attitude, the response to greyscale and space are consistent with the emotion in the works.
From the outside, the Suzhou Museum, designed by I. M. Pei, looks like a cluster of old-style buildings, referencing traditional residences in Suzhou. However, the interiors are simple and restrained, complete with a traditional thatched pavilion. The Suzhou Museum was completed in 2006, including a space designed with art exhibitions in mind. This space is arranged in a similar fashion to the museum’s other spaces, and the light and shade fluctuate with the exhibitions. The gunpowder pavilion that Cai Guoqiang created in 2006 and the thatched pavilion that I. M. Pei placed in a corner reflect the echo between the traditional and the present. Layered mountains and a pool in the center are connected to the spatial settings of the thatched pavilion and modern exhibition galleries, linking heaven and earth.
Spatial relationships are Su Xinping’s response to the greyscale and simplicity of the entire building, but they have also permeated his work since the 1980s. He hoped to, from the relationships between light and dark in the spaces in his paintings, further consider man and their times. It is a 1980s monologue by Su Xinping, but it is also a spatial dialogue with the late I. M. Pei in the same cultural context.
If you can appreciate the beauty of 1980s literature, it’s not difficult to understand the purity of Su Xinping’s painting. What you see and the empathy you feel are both present.
Curator: Li Zhenhua
excerpt from Li Zhenhua:“Su Xinping”