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【评论】Using painter’s brush as a magic wand to create stars

2015-06-11 08:57:29 来源:艺术家提供作者:Dr.RaskoRadovic

  Li Xinhui's paintings do not only give us visual pleasure but, on a deeper level, also provoke reflections on how we perceive things. Although aware of the fact that our perception is anthropomorphic in essence in that it tends to project human form into living things and objects around us, it never occurred to me that the shape of the five-pointed star can be perceived as resembling the human body and is ultimately derived from it. Only when I was exposed to Li Xinhui's fascinating art this realization dawned on me. Perhaps this is because I grew up in a communist country where this form had become so much of a symbol in its own right that I would never dream of seeing it as anything else, not even related to the stars in the skies, let alone something that resembles a human form. There are also strangely shaped, geometrically looking creatures like sea stars which again I could not relate to the human form. However, the ancients saw the stars as persons eternally dwelling in the skies, such as the Chinese Kuixing and the Greek Hesperos. The latter, the Evening Star, was also seen as a symbol of rebirth. So, in a funerary epigram dedicated to a young man called Aster, "Star" in Greek, Plato says:

  Among the living once the Morning Star,

  Thou shin'st, now dead, like Hesper from afar.

  Li Xinhui's painting called "Reborn", in which a lonely star timidly shines from the dark of the night, reminded me of this short poem attributed to the great philosopher. In his other paintings, such as the "Milky Way", stars come dancing in multitudes, bright and shiny as if cast in multicolored glass. In the series "Stars", their form has crystallized into a concentric structures consisting of a series of closed zigzag lines. It is well known from cognitive psychology that repeated two dimensional angular, zigzag patterns, can be seen as three dimensional. (e.g. an article by Li, A. & Zaidi, Q. (2000): Perception of three-dimensional shape from texture is based on patterns of oriented energy, Vision Research, 40, 217-242). Some artists in the West use these and similar visual effects and illusions to create a sensation of puzzlement in the viewer. With Li Xinhui stars the situation is quite different. His subtle concentric, radiating forms imperceptibly draw us in their tender interior where we can synchronize with their pulsating, trembling and breathing movements created by a gentle play of constant reversal and alternation of convex and concave surfaces. (This strange phenomenon has recently attracted the attention of psychologists as seen in the optical illusion created by a Serbian professor Dejan Todorovic in which a paradoxical reversal of convex and concave surfaces occurs. Although this kind of computer generated images like "Todorovic illusion" cannot be considered art, still, it is fascinating to see how the artists and the scientists, working independently, arrive to similar discoveries about human vision.)

  The ultimate individuality of these monadic forms comes from their unusual, fascinating colors. As one can expect from their concentric shapes, their colors also come in zones. However, contrasting colors are never directly juxtaposed but gradually merge into each other in an unusual way, either through a progressive darkening or brightening, combined with a subtle change of nuance. Successive narrow white zones create an overall effect of well polished, lucid, reflective surfaces reminiscent of those of jades, ambers, lacquers and similar precious materials. The middle, most often of a lighter hue, creates a powerful effect of radiation and pulsating movement thus reminding us that these stars are, after all, derived from their celestial prototypes.

  Putting Li Xinhui's art in a historical perspective, we can see how in it the human form has evolved into a star shape becoming progressively more angular and abstract in a long process of experimentation with both the organic and geometric forms.

  It is as if Li Xinhui's rich artistic trajectory, itself reminiscent of a zigzagging line, vacillating between the figurative and the abstract, has finally closed, condensed, concentrated and crystallized itself into this star shape. By so doing, Li Xinhui has resolved, in a most ingenious way, the dilemma "abstract or figurative?" which troubles so many contemporary artists.

  The authors introduce:

  Born in former Yugoslavia, Dr.Radovic moved to United Kingdom in 1977 where he practiced Psychiatry for many years having become a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in 1985. In 2008, he moved to China and is currently working as a part- time Consultant Psychiatrist for the Beijing United Hospital. Dr. Radovic and his wife Ms. Wang Tao established the Onyx Gallery to discover and support art talents, promote art exchanges and represent artists both from China and overseas.

  In the 90's, Dr.Radovic studied Philosophy and History of Science in France, under the aegis of the most prominent French epistemologist, Professor Jacques Bouveresse, a member of the Collège de France. He eventually obtained a PhD in Philosophy from the Sorbonne University in 1999. The thesis was on the philosophical significance of expression of emotions. Dr.Radovic also studied Classics, Greek and Latin, in England under the foremost experts like Professors Hedwig Maehler and Robert Sharples, obtaining a MA in Classics from University College London in 2002. Dr.Radovic has published articles in French and Serbo-Croatian and a book on the symbolical significance of human form in Serbo-Croatian. He is currently preparing for publication a treatise on visual perception. Apart from his native Serbian, he speaks English, French and Italian and reads several other languages.