Blue Deam Land Gallery, Chengdu, Sichuan
Acquired from above gallery by the present owner
I try to look for fragile, trivial, mysterious, little details in life, and I use my ways of pretending or fudging, to calmly, clumsily, reasonably, and gracefully describe them. I like to pay close attention to all the random things in life.
Interpreting the odd events of daily life with Surrealism
Duan’s narrative art, combines the trivial matters and details of life, reconstructing them and giving them new meanings, interpreting odd events in life with surrealism. Her 2007 piece, Monkey, Legs, Red Curtains, (Lot 172) describes an event occurring during a feast. Duan uses different perspectives to arrange the objects, giving us a visualization of colourful narrations. The many delicate details hidden in the paintings are her unique interpretations of surrealism.
The monkey and the legs in Monkey, Legs, Red Curtains sit quietly at a long dining table with fresh fruit on it, as if they are gazing at each other. Such an image has an odd, yet peaceful feel to it. The bright colours of red and green married to the light blue background and floral printed tablecloth, creates a balance of colour, focusing the audience's attention on the monkey’s vivid facial expressions and humorous gestures. The legs on the table exposed from the giant red curtain adds a hint of mystery to the whole image. Duan believes that imagination is the lubrication of all. Through her delicate and creative arrangement of these seemingly unrelated objects, her works cause us to look more closely at the strange relationships between all things in life, from which she expresses the dramatic, theatre-esque aspects of our daily life.
Duan Jianyu loves to portray animals in her artwork. Monkeys, penguins, chickens, and pigs are commonly seen characters in her creations. These animals play important roles in the stories that Duan tells, and often hold the same statuses as humans. In Monkey, Legs, Red Curtains, the monkey and the legs which are depicted as lying down are feasting together, representing an equality between human and animals, thereby sending a primordial message reflecting the close relationship between human and mother nature. Through the ingenious combination of our daily life and imagination, Duan’s artwork reveals to us her sense of humour and the morals of life.
As Duan said, “If you compare my artwork with food, then they would not be coffee and croissants; they would be a mixed salad that hasn’t been washed clean, with some stones inside, as if they were warning diners to chew carefully.” By creating all kinds of stories and constructing unique art forms, Duan uses diversions, simulation, metaphors, allusions, and many other techniques to give her artwork freedom, reflect on the desire of modern societies, and lead the way into the strange yet poetic world of artists.