The humanized being in the Dream World
From an art history development, we can study the art creativity is from the sacred to popular, from the serious to the game. The art history development is an iron unalterable. The 20th century Japanese comics and illustration books, interchanges as we step into the early 21st century, with computers and a digital revolution. The changes are particularly evident. It accompanies the new generation of young artists from a nurtured childhood. Artists who were born after 1980, has an aesthetic taste which changes to another system entirely, where comics and cartoons becoming the most significant feature of contemporary creativity.
The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (MOCCA) was founded in 2001 and the MoCCA Fest, was first held in 2002. Animation and cartoon is spreading to Asia cities, like Shanghai, Hong Kong and Taiwan. In Asia, it is mostly influenced by Japanese pop culture. The 2015 Anime Festival was held in Bangkok, Jakarta and Singapore. During the 21st century art, undeniably, Malaysian young artists were influenced in character design from cartoon characters.
MEAA winner Xing Ru selected a cat as a character to interpret her work. The fat round body made the character seem ‘cute’ and cartoon-like. Simple shapes in three-dimensional made the cat presented in a dramatic way. Xing Ru uses acrylic as a medium on canvas, with the cat character, presenting the relationship between cats and human, as an outsider and insider. Cats are the insiders, as occurred in the matter, and “man” is an outsider, he symbolizes the spectator role.
“I prefer reading story books than comics and illustration. I prefer scripts than pictures, because I think pictures will suppress imagination. The script could stimulate my mindset, and appear in an unlimited imagination in my mind.” Xing Ru’s answer is rare from the young generation who grew up during the digital century today.
Franz Kafka is Xing Ru ‘s favorite writer, her topics and observation may refer to the “Kafkaesque” term, often in a surreal, nightmarish milieu, which evokes a feeling of senselessness and disorientation.
Dance of life held in a ballroom and the universe as a background was adapted from Edward Munch’s painting ‘Dance of Life’.
“I try to be like a director, adapt a novel and here I adapted Edward Munch’s painting” said Xing Ru.
A distinction can be drawn between those of Munch’s imaginative works that are directly symbolic. Like jealousy, a dancing cats’ mutually contradictory state of mind, is difficult to interpret. Life is not in fact a dance and a metaphor in different stages are too vague to give much indication of what is intended. The cross square and Easter eggs all around, in a “Dance of Life”, The Poker King is a reflection of the time, which symbolizes an expression of emotion and atmosphere. Shrimps falling from the sky, disorder dancing cats on the sky and sea, reversed a dark and deep universe, where small animals scurrying around in a painting is a chaotic state, a chaotic world. This is what the artist saw and felt in Edward Munch’s painting “Dance of Life”.
Chia Sin Ying was a 5 year old child who was Xing Ru’s student in a kindergarten. That was her first time teaching in a kindergarten.
“To me, she was special and optimistic, she is always dancing. Thus, I hope to describe her in this painting.” Xing Ru connected the cat and child character in her painting. If we have a cat, we may know a cat’s character is like a child, so this is why Xing Ru transferred Chia Sin Ying into a character, as she could show her character freely. The little elements like a ginger bread man, and colours are the things she liked and which she has drawn before.
The title of the painting is ‘…….’, where a group of cats are showing no reaction when in actual fact a cat will jump when it sees a fish. Xing Ru wants to express a relationship between cat and fish, where both are in a state of immediacy. Cats and fishes can also be a symbol of man and desire, cats represents a person, when competing, and can be a stalemate. Unease lurking, covering the surface with calm and the sweet colours of Easter eggs and fishes patterning the cross square, we can see clearly the rear poker implying a restless heart. We may simply find the situation surrounding us in our daily lives. This is what Xing Ru observes and is trying to express that moment of state.
Among her works, “Day and Night” is the most different in presentation. It shows the day landscape and night scenery as a part of the 9 square composition.
Xing Ru uses a lot of cubism analysis from her favourite master painter, Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso during her exploration days after she graduated from Malaysia Art Institution (MIA). Day and night shows time repeated day by day, month after month and year after year. From the day she started painting, she feels that what have been heard, what have been seen and what have been done from a person’s life as a child who begins his/her memories from their kindergarten days like trying to learn to write using square exercise books.
In ‘Day and Night’, Xing Ru uses more rational ways to complete the analysis. The theme and content of this piece of work is more complex than the previous one. She tries to keep some emotional part, and makes a conversion of style from the previous. The composition of rational and analysis has increased.
For Xing Ru, “A source of inspiration to my work is continuous learning, exploring, and a sustained dialogue with myself. So, the rule is to explore, balance and move forward in my life and create creative ideas.”
In her new series, her idea moved to the seas and universe. From the artists’ progress, it happened naturally closer to her 1st solo exhibition in Galeri Chandan. When Xing Ru thinks of a cat, she will naturally link it to fishes, and fishes are in the sea, and the sea is linked to the sky. In addition, sea and sky are symbols of freedom and will always remain as her favorite. What she thinks is what she paints, her work is her manifestation of the present.
Would she wonder if the cat’s character could influence the audience to her works? Xing Ru feels that “ornamental paintings for me is a pure emotional commitment, the audience will ignore my presentation because of the cat’s character and my theme, which I think is inevitable, so the viewer’s thoughts and ideas will not unduly influence my creation’s attitude.”
Art creation for Xing Ru is what she loves most, as she said “I love art and I had a chance to study art. My parents gave me a lot of support and tolerated me. To be an artist, this is what I must keep doing when I have the chance. As luck would have it, I will become a full time artist.”
Lim Ai Woei