Luo Dan’s works are not simply scenes of Rock ‘n’ Roll. He added artistic characteristics like Western Modernism and Post-Modernism, but kept Eastern elements or totems; along with Western symbols and musical patterns, creating a visual effect of conflicts and discord, thus, isn’t that a question posed for art under the conflicts between eastern and western culture.
--Tao Wenyue 2013
This May, “Echoes of Transcendence - 2013 Exhibition of Luo Dan Oil Paintings” will be held at Longmen Art Projects amongst the beauty of Shanghai’s Sinan Mansions in late spring. Last year, Luo Dan held a solo exhibition “As Free as the Wind” in Beijing showcasing his oil paintings from 2007-2012. This time, the artist has selected 21 pieces executed in 2012 that have never been publicly shown in Shanghai. "Echoes of Transcendence" will continue to focus on the artistic growth in Luo Dan’s recent works and allow the audience to closely observe how the artist breaks away from established patterns of art perspective and media material application to gain perception and logic of the new order, and how he changes his focus from emotional expression to self-introspection under the conflict between Eastern and Western culture.
Luo Dan was born in Chongqing, China in 1981. In 2000 he graduated from the High School attached to the Sichuan Fine Art Institute and later was admitted to the Oil Painting Department of the institute. From 2003-2006 he studied in Art University Kunsthochschule, Kassel, Germany and University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, UK as an exchange student. In 2007 he earned a master’s degree from the Oil Painting Department of Sichuan Fine Art Institute where he currently teaches.
Luo Dan had studied music at an early age, and this had a profound affect on his paintings. Growing up in an age of consumption, Luo Dan thinks that today’s art is becoming more simplified and popularized and less mysterious, sublime and vague. He tends to use straightaway images to express ideas and pop colors to create tension. He introduces the essence of Chinese classical culture into passionate Rock n’ Roll, which makes his paintings have vigorous energy from inside out and academic soul in details with solid brushwork and precise composition. By reproducing what our ancestors left in Chinese culture, such as musical instruments, dragon and phoenix patterns on clothes, even titles of Chinese classical poetries, he tries to figure out how we should build values of our own age. The "mix and match" style he has created is as a matter of fact an epitome of changing under the framework of globalization.
Luo Dan is not trying to deny the language of previous artists. He just wants to "annotate the age" - a blend of the Chinese and Western culture. He started the creation of "Rock Frenzy" series from 2007. In his solo exhibition in Today Art Museum last year, some pieces of this series appeared different from before with new perception of order and logical speculation in a more reserved manner. It made us aware that Luo Dan was trying to extend the subject matter of paintings by seeing art from different perspectives and using new painting materials. In recent works, he paints people and scenes from a much higher watcher’s perspective. He also uses a lot of metallic colors, even diamonds and crystals to create simple glamor and distance. Abstract geometry images and hardedge structural lines endow his paintings with certain design elements and create new visual languages on canvas. Inherent conflicts between Chinese and West urges Luo Dan to keep updating and overthrowing his own structures and deliver fresh visual difference with characters, scenes, colors and the interaction between dynamic and static images.
Just like the theme of his solo exhibition in Longmen Art Projects, “Echoes of Transcendence” implies, Luo Dan is reviewing his past as an artist and trying to stay authentic. His work is much more than simply depicting Rock and Roll scenarios. At the premise of reserving characteristics of west modern and post-modern art, he has found balance between eastern totems, western symbols and musical images. He shows the world the strength of contemporary art without pretense. He is initiating a reversed shock to western culture by raising an atheistic question.