Déjà vu: The Chinese
translation is “Jishigan” (instant visual sense), in short, “seemingly
familiar”， a feeling of having experienced some things
or scenes somewhere and sometime while they have never been experienced. It
possibly comes from a fictitious scene or sub-consciousness in our mind, or a
memory about a dream.
The visual signal of a realistic scene, the latent memory or
the imaginary scene have been dislocated or overlaid with each other in
presentation: just like in the creation of art, when being presented as works,
the so-called “realistic scenes” instantly reveal different “spiritual scenes”.
Compared with either reality or inner self, these scenes are “déjà vu”. Perhaps it is just the difference between these two sorts of
scenes that reflects the artist’s art exploration and philosophical thinking.
Déjà vu, the dislocated scenes
between “reality” and “spirit”.
Dining table with no one left but empty plates, stealthily
watching crowds, marching bands, over-grown bushes…Pictures of seemingly boring
and even meaningless scenes that cannot be called “scenery”. Artist TuXi uses
brushwork of black, white and gray and large areas of plain painting with cool
colors to construct several clear, cold and dreamy déjà vu “realities”. The indistinct intranquility revealed behind
boredom and alienation, as well as the deserted scenes and meaningless
behaviors, bring to light the absurdity of existence.
Young artist Tu Xi was born in 1982. In his recent works,
things of different sizes are like dreams, colorless and illusionary: fish
placed on the chopping board with their eyes open, floating food without the
confinement of gravity, the scattering frail birds at the corner of a wall, the
odds and ends of a meal…All of these appear to be so surreal, unreasonable and
unpalatable. Aren’t these the reality in which we all live? Why can we only see
these unbearable scenes? Audience who face Tu Xi’s works might raise similar
questions. If we quote “déjà vu”, it will be
easy to understand why reality looks like this after the artist’s observation
Surely, what we see in the works is not the same as what we see
in reality, at least not so unbearable. What we see, or what we want to see is
order, beauty, happinessand aroma. Due to our selective observation and
subconscious psychological protection, our surrounding images seem to be more
and more “beautiful”. However, what can’t be denied is that behind this layer
of protection, every one’s heart conceals more or less all sorts of indistinct
insecurity, anxiety and even fear. Behind the “realistic scenes” that we try
hard to establish and preserve in our heart lies the lingering puzzlement. We
are doing the same things. Every one replaces the “realistic scenes” he sees
with his own “inner scenes”, only what we want to keep in the albums or show to
others has to undergo all sorts of beautifications and decorations ofsoftware.
Is what the artist presents absolutely real? The answer is of
course negative: what he does is making efforts to remove the dazzling colors
that tainted “reality”; ignore the fake expressions that pile on people’s
faces; pull out the plastic flowers and grass along the roads; strip the
reality down. Only when we see the genuine flesh and bone, feel pain, sympathy
and give up hypocrisy, can we paint the real scenery based on reality in our
heart and according to our wish.
Through the coldness or alienation, or even a sense of despair
that the artist expresses, what we can see is in fact a grand love and care.
Grand feelings aside, if we pay attention to small details, we
can observe from Tu Xi’s recent works: as the main body, people gradually
leave;the subjective lines and brushwork with an aesthetic tendency gradually
fade as well. Facing the purposely-made-vacant or dimming pictures with large
areas of painting without brushwork, one cannot help but think: the gradual
fading of these ways of expression, including people as themes, visual lines
and brushwork, serves for reducing the subjective aesthetic orientation and
expression. And then it is replaced by the natural images produced from the
collision of inner self and scenery. During the subjective exploration of
image, is the relationship between image and reality closer to the reality in
our heart? What information can this comparatively objective image reveal?
It is just through this so-called absence and alienation that
the artist attempts to find a comparatively objective trace of image of human’s
existence or an inner reality.
Just like all living creatures in this society, we are all
facing the seemingly normal things in reality. Many people think this is
normal. They live in the society insensibly or pleasantly. However, Tu Xi
stubbornly uses pictures to express the absurdity all the time, maintains independent
thinking, self-examination and criticism about this society in his heart, never
sails with the stream or follows the herd.
Just like this, from afar, the artist gazes upon the leftover
plates after a feastor the barren ground after prosperity, and severely
portrays his inner scenery.