Zhou Yan Contemporary Chinese Art Archive 周彦当代中国艺术档案



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Oil on canvas


180 x 150 cm


This work resembles much to Mao's another oil painting "Key and Red Back Chair" (see the artwork another entry of this archive). Like the difference told in the two works' title, the central subject, back chair, is painted in tonal color rather than red in this artwork. The enormous key accompanying the chair is painted in a dark grey tone, much close to bitumen. At the work's top-left corner, a hanging lamp protrudes into the picture plane. We are not sure under which setting do these objects appear. The background of the image is erased by a few abrupt white splashes. The detached nature of the subjects, along with the inconsistent scales and proportions of them, render the artwork rather abstract than concrete or realistic. All the objects depicted, indeed, could play into Mao's witting allusions to the notion of power, and honestly register Mao's entwined feeling to "power". Mao once commented on power: "it (power) fears me, but at the same time I pity it [...] it is born out of darkness, [...], sits on a back chair, irremovable, [...], and ineluctable. (Texts translated from Chinese)" The tonal colors of grey and black that dominate the picture, as well as the heavily viscous facture, would help Mao to render an imagery of pressing power. (Zhou, 毛旭辉的“时间复调”—反复吟唱的热爱, 2018, Mann Art, available on http://www.maanart.com/index.php/Home/Article/detail/id/78) (Jerry Wu'23).



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