New Tales of Magic is an enigmatic and powerful philosophical discourse about our existence in a world of constant change. Artist Chen Ping abstracts themes of time and place that have become constant powerful markers in the artist’s contemporary methodology. Ping works in viscous oil paint developed from his knowledge and practice in traditional Chinese ink painting. His dynamic technique morphs different ideas and historical themes, creating a new mythology.
At the forefront is a contemporary vision of an ancient storyteller—Aesop’s fable of the city and country mouse. For Ping, the city mouse is a seductress dancing across our cityscape. The city mouse in all her cunning beauty is seared into our consciousness—alluring and elusive, she is a siren calling to all of us. Her long legs, capped with high-heeled shoes and a tail. Here now, gone in the next breath—her fleeting existence acts as a metaphor for our survival in a modern urban society.
The city mouse’s leg is clothed in a tightly knitted fishnet stocking. There are obvious sensuous references, however, as often the case with Ping, the obvious is not what lies within. The interlinking black lines reference the ancient woven fish traps of Indigenous Australia, reminding us of our primal needs. Or is it referencing a suit of chain mail armour of the middle ages, protecting the sensitive mouse from the realities of this world? Text in both Chinese and English characters hover around the border of the picture, representing our existence in the landscape of signs.
Ping’s placement of the exhibition within an astrological framework—the Chinese Zodiac—along with ancient Greek and Roman contexts, is yet another clue to the cross pollination of our shared beliefs over cultures and thousands of years of our human existence.
From May until November this year, Chen Ping’s City Mouse works will be exhibited in PERSONAL STRUCTURES: Time Space Existence, part of the 57th Venice Biennale.
这是古希腊作家伊索寓言的城市鼠和乡下鼠的当代版。对陈平来说，城市鼠是一个穿梭于高楼大厦间的迷人女子，她的丽人楚楚打入我们的潜意识 – 躲迷藏似的妖惑力大放电。长腿，高跟鞋和“尾巴”，明明在眼前，却在呼吸之间晃然而过，好像是寓意我们起伏跌宕地生存于现代都市的社会。
拉尔弗 侯博斯 2017年3月