Friday, 28 December 2012


It is a very interesting show.  I didn’t know this kind of shooting gallery in history.  I had an image with a bullet flying to a Leica, from last year’s Paris Photo.  I found it is quite conceptual.  A gun shoot a camera, a camera shoot back.  There are quite a few theme based works.  The video installation gives me lots of revelation too.  Standing in the middle I was closed in by four screens with appropriated video footage from movies men shooting... I myself sometimes don’t find these cliche movie boring and if anything I quite like to see these movies from time to time, but seeing the installation give me some more thoughts...  Shooting! Existential life.

There is evan a real shooting gallery but I didn’t try due to time constraint. Should be interesting.

“Like guns and cars, cameras are fantasy-machines whose use is addictive. However, despite the extravagances of ordinary language and advertising, they are not lethal. In the hyperbole that markets cars like guns, there is at least this much truth: except in wartime, cars kill more people than guns do. The camera/gun does not kill, so the ominous metaphor seems to be all bluff – like a man’s fantasy of having a gun, knife, or tool between his legs.” -Susan Sontag

Also, downstairs, I saw Tom Wood’s show.  I actually visually researched his work and now see them in person in a gallery!

Thursday, 27 December 2012


Introduction from Wellcome’s website.  Theme interesting so I went there but not as I expected probably I expected it could be more visually ...

Our major winter exhibition showcases some 300 works from a unique collection devoted to the iconography of death and our complex and contradictory attitudes towards it. Assembled by Richard Harris, a former antique print dealer based in Chicago, the collection is spectacularly diverse, including art works, historical artefacts, scientific specimens and ephemera from across the world. Rare prints by Rembrandt, Dürer and Goya will be displayed alongside anatomical drawings, war art and antique metamorphic postcards; human remains will be juxtaposed with Renaissance vanitas paintings and twentieth century installations celebrating Mexico’s Day of the Dead. From a group of ancient Incan skulls, to a spectacular chandelier made of 3000 plaster-cast bones by British artist Jodie Carey, this singular collection, by turns disturbing, macabre and moving, opens a window upon our enduring desire to make peace with death. 

Wednesday, 26 December 2012


I particularly like Elizabeth Price’s video installation - Woolworth Fire.  Narratives, montage, edit, texts, sound effects... Price reanimates existing archives of imagery, texts and music to explore our complex relationship to objects and consumer culture. Her carefully sequenced films guide us through immersive virtual spaces, derived from the cultural debris of the material world.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012


It was full of people, especially middle and old aged ones... Maybe I am already one of them, or at least I am on the track, and very fast... I had to squeeze among them but I love this exhibition.  I don’t care about the conceptual stuff anymore completely being carried away by the deadly beautiful works.  They are so rich with beautiful details and props perfectly presented and expressed.  Among them John Everett Millais and Dante Gabriel Rossetti particularly are eyes catching to me.  I have a fixation for chiaroscuro.  There are a few chiaroscuro works.  I think I can sit there forever let the beauty talking me away and melting me.  Photography is overshadowed by these kind of painting...  I want to take them home, change my wall to all those Pre-Raphaelites wall papers, update my furniture to all those beautiful things... Anyway, breath taking!

Wednesday, 12 December 2012


We had a review today on work in progress.  There were lots of interesting comments.  I haven’t seen or heard interesting stuff these months.  Missed Andrew’s Nostalgia talk but caught up with the recording, a very interesting subject as it relates to me - these days everything to me is nostalgia, not mentioning the time based medium photography, as everything around me, the whole world is a time based medium where I engage push and pull on a daily basis.  

Among everyone’s work, I found Andrew’s very interesting.  He took a roll of 35mm colour film, blow, blow, and blow out with lots of grain and deformed forms of subjects.  The more you zoom, the less you know, the more destabilising it gets.  He is questioning the truth of the medium and challenge viewer what you see is not what you see...  

I was impressed Sarah D’s project in Show and Tell, now she explained the philosophical level, the logos and superficiality.  She said everything combines everything, there is a relationship among everything, superficially probably.  Anyway...

Gavin and Silke both said, play with material, don’t commit yourself, do now, think later, you don’t know until you do it...  Quite like it, I knew it too, but sometimes my right brain was controlled by the left, which tries to get rid of all the uncertainty, I want to play with more uncertainty, don’t think, do intuitively...

Gavin commented Alan’s landscape idea which Alan claimed to have the obvious conflict and message in a good landscape image.  Gavin said photography is not that kind of media, it does not give explicit message as such, rather it offers subtlety, a relationship rather only than conflicts.  This way, the continuous engagement is created to reach a complex level.  The cliche in landscape is just offer those romantic iddilic edenic mood, but there is more that that as nature is not necessarily that was well commented, quite like the idea.  

I don’t think I get clear direction over my projects.  I do hear different comments.  Gavin explained the depth of the red background and I found quite interesting.  Silke shot my idea to draw a line in Shi Dai Jing Shen skyscape, which I quite agree.  Seems the challenge is how to present this 3 strands projects.  I need to decide if I shoot more portraiture, with lighting or not.  Then after that, I can just play around with materials, edit and presentation. 

Saturday, 8 December 2012


I didn’t expect it is this single image shortlisted - have thought it was my Transit project as I thought that was much more interesting.  I didn’t it could win some prize too.  The 3rd prize in single image section.  I don’t like the image as it is a kind of cliche and medium is swarmed with these kind of images which is not interesting.  However it is indeed very pictorial, quite a spectacle.  I missed the private view but went to see the show today at P3 Gallery.  Could be nice to have attended to get the prize physically though...

Thursday, 6 December 2012


I am still contemplating the composition.  While vaguely I feel like the equal split way, I tried different kinds of experiment.  Which one should I chose?  What more options do I have?  Maybe the first one to be different from Sugimoto?     

Wednesday, 5 December 2012


I still can’t resist the rich colour everyday sun sets and rises.  While below and above my flying is immersed in the darkness, the faraway is undergoing a colourful change. It only lasts a short time.  I used ISO1600 to capture this worry the quality of the image.  The sun always rises, no matter... and also sets, every day, for thousands of years.  

Tuesday, 4 December 2012


I gazed into the starry night sky.  How could I not use the word “beautiful”.  The cabin light is dimmed, so I can see the star clearly.  I feel I am nearer to the night sky stars.  Star has always been inside me. My mom always created fairy tales using the stars, and the moon.  One of the early songs I learnt is also about star.  During the years, I am always fascinated by it.  I love the night, when we ran into sea from the beach shore and shout looking at the stars - of course, that night we had some alcohol, it helped.  Every night, Meimei says good bye to everyone, byebye little rabit, byebye little horse, byebye fish, byebye lamp, byebye wawa, byebye star...  Then if I asked Meimei where is the star, she said she went to sleep.  She saw the stars in the cabin and asked us, grab the star, grab the moon.  Star, how beautiful, she’s my star.  Wow, went on a tangent.  So I took out the camera, using B, 45 seconds with wide aperture.  I captured the moving traces of the stars, the sky and the lights below my flying...

Monday, 3 December 2012


I tried soft focus and I looked fabulous.  Not necessarily in the form, it gives me more space for appreciation.  I have been fascinated by the soft focus.  I don’t know where I picked up from.  Maybe Gerhard Richter.  Then the colour, I don’t know if I keep the saturated colour.  I don’t want my images that colourful, though I don’t want it pure grey scale.  I always appreciate the saying by Laozi, “Five colours make one blind (五色令人目盲五音令人耳聋)”  it is the literal translation, it conceptually means there is more in less.  My first name from Zhuangzi, thanks to my father, and Taoism (Laozi and Zhuangzi) means a lot to me.  I am considering to use the minimal colour and texture to convey the essence of Zeitgeist.  It goes simple, only the essence is left after thousands years of washing.

Sunday, 2 December 2012


I test shot. I foresee a few problems and find a way to solve it.  Normally the glass is not clean.  Learnt from “Behind Curtains” I know as long as I put the camera lens onto the glass I will decrease the visual noise to the lowest level.  Also the light, if it is against the light, then problem of glare like this image will be destroying.  So every time I fly I have to better plan the side of my seats.  The change, the colour, and the diversified mode of the skyscape is appealing.  Day, dusk, dawn, night, so beautiful.  Even in the high sky, there is still the chance element of the cloud.  I will keep on shooting every time I fly.

Saturday, 1 December 2012


I can’t move away from this composition, even though I dislike it, as it, instantly, resembles Sugimoto’s Seascape.  Nevertheless, I started my shooting.  Sky and star have always been fascinating to me.  I like to look into the sky, gaze to the infinity.  I love clouds, and I can easily look at clouds slowly moving forever.  I consider the sky and clouds myself, I look into myself, the unknown self, the changing self, and the mysterious self.  Now, I would like to carry on, I will use sky and cloud as the metaphor for China Zeitgeist.  

Sky and clouds could be anything. It has the intrinsic universality within it.  It is people’s mind that projected into the sky and cloud, and the sky and cloud, to them become their thoughts, perceptions and feelings. Maybe I shouldn’t narrow my image narratives to this China Zeitgeist, to let the meaning expand and melt into viewer’s mind.  However, it means something to me personally and probably to Chinese nationally.  The East philosophy is dominated by the Tian Ren He Yi (天人合一).  It literally means sky, human, unity, one.  The immanence and unity has been the essence of China for thousands of year.  

For western, it more concentrates dualism which lead to an opposition between man and nature.  You easily spot the difference between a Chinese painting (especially landscape) with a western one.  The human figures in Chinese landscape painting (I say Shan Shui, 山水) is always tiny melted into the mountain and water.  The Chinese believes in nature, while the western always try to conquer and plunder from nature with its increasingly highly advanced technologies.  Probably globalisation today does not make this any more, with China accomplished San Xia and western more tends to preserve the nature.  Nevertheless the spirit inside Chinese should be always there not be carried away by the sudden outrageous economic development, it will come back, as this is something there for thousands of years, and will be there of eternity.  The other things is Zhong Yong, based on this Tian Ren He Yi, Chinese tends to find the balance in everything in lives.  The balance is called Zhong Yong (Doctrine of the Mean)  The people dislike the drastic and extreme thoughts and behaviors.  Actually the name Zhong Guo (China) not only literally reflects the then thought that the country is in the middle, but more importantly Chinese believes in Zhong (the balance).  Under such contexts, I found my planned composition hard to change, as I see the skyscape split in half, idealised the above concepts, TianRenHeYi, ZhongYong, and Zhongguo. 

So why sky?  I planned the photography to be taken from the sky above China. The sky to China is nature in general and the highest principles and governance.  I choose the sky as it idealised people’s dream, embodies thousands of years of philosophy and history free from the noise and change in the society anytime, something eternal and invariable.  The sky is from China, but above it, idealised and cristilised by the time. 

Wednesday, 28 November 2012


Press Release:

This is the first major exhibition to focus solely on contemporary installation and performance art from China. It presents large-scale installations and extraordinary live art by some of China’s most innovative artists, in works dating from the 1980s to the present day. Art of Change traces each artist’s development, showing important early works alongside recent creations and new commissions. Change, and the acceptance that everything is subject to change, is deeply rooted in Eastern philosophy. The exhibition features works that deal with transformation, instability and impermanence, looking at how these themes are conveyed through action or materials.
Each of the artists presents works that change their appearance over time or which are volatile or unpredictable in some way. A person ‘magically floats’ above the floor, sculptures are wilfully tossed up and down, and visitors can listen to the sound of 1000 live silkworms. The exhibition itself changes as performances are enacted with various works during the course of each day.

Artists in the exhibition include Chen Zhen, Yingmei Duan, Gu Dexin, Liang Shaoji, Sun Yuan and Peng Yu, Wang Jianwei, Xu Zhen and MadeIn Company. The exhibition is curated by Stephanie Rosenthal, Chief Curator, Hayward Gallery.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012


I like the text and colour in his signature works and wondering how can I get take it further...

Review on Art Wednesday:
Bochner! The father of conceptual art?  We wondered as we walked in the Whitechapel Gallery where we could distinguish through the doors of Gallery 1 Mel Bochner’s dominating painting Blah, Blah, Blah made just a year ago.  how The artist used oil on velvet for this centrepiece to the exhibition, which predisposed us for the excitement and the conceptual intricacies involved. In this artistic encounter with the US artist’s work we immediately understand the pivotal importance language and colour has. Bohner uses various rationalising systems as that of measurements, numbers and definitions, to express his understandings and findings of his studies of our illogical and transitional human being.

Bochner’s work is strongly rooted to the artistic turbulence of the 60’s where modern art deprived paintings their presupposed supremacy and where language becomes constituent to it. In his own words:

‘What I wanted to understand was the nature of the conventions. Conventions give us boundaries of experience. If you examine the conventions you may find where the holes are, where a leakage exists between ‘is’ and ‘is not’.’ [1]

While walking up the stairs to Gallery 9 we came across numerous 48-inch lines, in the art work 48” Descending a Staircase (2012). We were perplexed by this almost Dadaist  approach to systems of belief where Bochner here as well as in various other works plays with the enigma of humanly defined information which though factual are of no real aid in understanding the world.

We were truly amazed by the magnitute of Bochner’s work which so beautifully addresses modern social issues where the ‘abuses of power begin with the abuse of language.’[2]. In a series of paintings Bochner writes on colour oozing canvases which were our personal favourite. In Amazing! (2011) one reads a series of words all acting as a thesaurus page of the title - awesome, groovy and gnarly -amongst others.

We found ever so stunning the sensory experience as well as the concepts, which Bochner draws upon through this selection of his works, dating nearly 50 years back. The exhibition both evokes thinking and mesmerises the viewer through Bochner’s abstractions where the means through which those are expressed act as their tangible vessel but also affect out perception of them. We surely felt privileged to catch this sought after exhibition before it tours around Europe.

Monday, 26 November 2012


I like the title - a bit of wind got up.

Sunday, 25 November 2012


I like his usage of texts - aphorisms or snappy phrases; as well as his appropriation of other medium such as book covers.  

Press release from White Cube:

Miller's practice has developed in tandem with his love for books – both as sculptural objects in their own right and as the carriers of humour, irony and emotion. For over a decade, Miller has been painting fictional covers for imaginary Penguin paperbacks, based on the original colour block covers that were used to denote genre. His new series of paintings adopt the marbled paper covers used on the old-fashioned Penguin poetry editions and are made using luxurious metallic paints on heavy, smooth walnut panels. These paintings appear like facsimiles of an original object, since the wear and tear of each book is clearly discernible, but their titles have been replaced with philosophical aphorisms or snappy turns of phrase. Tonally reduced, in black and gold with the odd accent of brilliant red, their process of making combines an element of pure chance (Miller mixes the paint with a flow medium to make it more slippery) and deliberate intent. The paintings are made on the floor, in the manner of a Pollock drip painting and indexical traces of the artists' movement as well as drips, smudges and accidental colour bleeding all contribute to the final image. Although purely abstract, trompe l'oeil figuration begins to emerge from the 'marbling' where clusters of colours appear like clouds, as in the work In Dreams begin Monsters where celestial sunsets morph into different galaxies or other natural phenomena.

Saturday, 24 November 2012


The best day this year?  Technically.  We had a printing workshop today at The Print Space.  A lot of first times. 

Digital C type (indeed quite different colour gamma from Giclee)

Different kind of papers:

Digital C-type:
Fuji Crystal Archive Matt or Gloss
Kodak Metallic (super for B&W)
Fuji Flex

Hahnemuhle Photorag (like a water colour fibre)
Hahnemuhle Pearl
Hahnemuhel German Etching (very analogy)
Canson Baryta
Canson Aquarella Rag
Harman Warmtone

A systematic intro on mounting substrates:
Card/Foam Board/Foamex/MDF/Aluminium/Dibond/Acrylic Reverse
Also fixings on the back like: split batons, metal frame, etc
Window/Box/Shadow Edge Frame/etc
(London Picture Frame is part of the same group! We walked there too.)

Soft Proof:
RGB, 8bit (Image>Mode)
Sizing (resample)
Print profiles to download, then drop to Libray>Colour Syn>Profile
Proof Setup to choose paper (perceptive &  Relative) to check (tick black compensation) preview
Retouch (curves) or (select certain colour to retouch)
Change Profile (to paper’s or Adobe)
& calibration of screen too beforehand

Friday, 23 November 2012


My work was shortlisted in Westphoto’s State of the Nation to be exhibited in P3 in December.  

Sunday, 4 November 2012


There is the fourth dimension in today’s China - the speed - the rate of development and change.  The speed does not merely transform China. It is becomes China.  It is not only a phenomenon itself, it is also the relationship of everything in nature, society, culture and politics.  The reality, and the only reality today in China lies in the speed of the transit.  

On this planet, the watershed velocity speed is 11.2 kilometers per second.  Within this speed, our perception to everything is normal as everything is of this velocity speed.   Is the annual rate of double digit economic development in China the watershed speed or beyond?  I would like to find out.  I would like to see this speed of  transit.  I need to be of a similar speed, therefore, I jumped into a car and asked the driver to run as fast as possible wherever, through high street, by residential blocks, on motorways, across rural areas...  

After hours of traveling in this fast car, I don’t feel the speed any more, I locked myself in the world of speed and transit physically and mentally.  I can hear the noise of the engine and the sound of the wind.  I can feel the bumping of the car, but not the sense of speed any more.  Speed becomes part of me and transforms to an entrance, through which I penetrate into an unknown reality where everything is blurred and distorted.  I continuously press the shutter.  In every fraction of a second, everything in China blurred. 

My camera is my vessel  missioned to carry my perception to enter this fast changing world.  I continuously shoot whatever passing me.

Speed becomes part of the visual form, the splash of lights, the distorted scenes, the blurred images and the substance of my perception. 

This dimension has been continuously covered by the speed and the change as a result of the speed of development in China.  The old place and values become oblivion covered by the new, modern and the speed.   Actually there is no speed, just the traces of the continuation of the speed and the traces is wiped off every second by another round of new development of speed.   

These images are not about the speed of the transit in China but the elegy of the speed of  “then” because in reality the speed does not stop.  I know I could never have the chance to go back to the past.

Saturday, 3 November 2012


Unlike Made in China, I don’t have much to regret of the first shooting.  However, I think after edit, I might have some feel what to shoot more, and then will be more selective in choosing subjects.  Anyway, this test shoot is actually good enough - the first is the best, I like this feel, it does not come to me often!