Events in Lv Shanchuan’ s Painting
Lv Shanchuan’s works are not extensive research of contemporary art methodology, but expressions of his own reflections on certain social events. As a contemporary artist, he deems that artists’ expression should relate to the reality, and in fact this is also one of the most important characteristics of Chinese contemporary art. China has been undergoing periods of rapid modernisation and artists are inevitably influenced by the social reality experienced during their daily lives. They are affected by the robust tension and contradictory relationships between globalisation and localisation, between societies and individuality, which therefore intrinsically aspires the artists to present their notion of reality. Art that confesses this ideology then becomes one of the most fascinating identities of Chinese contemporary art. However, Lv Shanchuan’s expression on reality differs from the abovementioned approaches. Lv’s unique artistic style comes from realising the unification of individuality and social events, languages and the media, painting process and performances. As a result, Lv's art integrates social events, the media and performances into one.
Firstly, Lv Shanchuan’s paintings use social or the so-called significant events involving politics, military, economics and cultural affairs that affect China or around the world as his subject matters. On one hand, these works imply that during the era of globalisation, China has an interwoven relationship with other countries in the world; on the other hand, these works indicate that Lv is a contemporary artist with a global perspective. These social events stir his emotions and compell him to re-represent them. For him, it is not only important to convey the underlying social issues, but also to present the actual “scenes” of where they happen. These “scenes” are filled with emotions and energy in a contagious manner, and these “scenes” excite him. As an artist, Lv needs to capture and re-represent these scenes which can be reinterpreted and integrated with his personalised artistic style. He turns the canvases into containers of the scenes, tightly controlling the atmosphere and energy within. It is possible that some events in his paintings bear no relationship with certain audiences' own experiences. Nevertheless, the accumulating sense of presence instilled in his works creates massive visual impacts, pulling viewers into the events to feel what actually happen there and then. In this respect, Lv successfully induces the transformation of contents within sociology into expressions in the artistic contexts.
Nowadays, newspaper has become one of the most important media for communications with the outer world. News images have therefore become a symbolic manifestation of the events themselves. Lv Shanchuan utilises news relating to his daily life as references for his artistic language, and uses it as a starting point to build his artistic expression. So long as there are social issues in the news, newspaper will circulate and provide inspirations for Lv to create. Lv conveys his feelings onto the canvases by referencing to newspaper images he has seen, in which the media or news is visually transformed into a crucial content in his art. Remarkably, in today’s world where it becomes difficult to separate the reality and the media, media contributes to the existence of reality. It becomes a resource for artists as their source of creativity. Many artists in China and abroad use the media to create diversified imagery about the reality, and yet Lv Shanchuan does it all the more. As soon as he sees an important event in the news, regardless of whether it is day or night, Lv starts to paint immediately, not stopping until the work is completed. He deliberately magnifies the images onto his colossal canvases. The images are so glaring that viewers are deeply engaged as if they are drawn into the scenes, confronting the news aspect of the works in a multiplied manner. Lv uses newspaper as the media to artistically represent the media or news, refreshing the way for the media to enter into art.
世界广场-上海 600x250cm 2009
Undoubtedly, Lv Shanchuan has an excellent talent for painting and artistic expression. While the trend in contemporary art nowadays is to shift towards the use of multimedia, Lv firmly believes that painting, being the most basic artistic language, still has the worthiness in representing contemporary topics. He strives to integrate new elements into paintings in order for them to compete with the visual appeal of the other media. Lv integrates conceptual expressions within his artistic languages. His paintings are spontaneous; he paints what he feels, and stops when his feelings subside. His painting process is performative; he paints both with brushes and with his bare hands smearing paint onto the canvases, injecting movements and physicality into the process, leaving traces of unpredictability. Lv also intentionally suppresses the tones of the works, making the colours appear simpler, thus in turn emphasising the materiality of the paint he uses. He sets to finish the paintings when the news is still new, often on the same day that it comes out, reflecting conceptually the timeliness of the subject matter of “events”. All these constitute towards the uniqueness of his paintings in terms of concept as well as a unified, organic style, making these his contributions to the contemporary art domain.