PAST

AISHAN YU

9 April 2010 - 30 May 2010

Yu Aishan (b. 1981) graduated from the Sichuan Academy of Fine Art in China and then with an MA from Slade School of Art in London. She has an interest in Chinese philosophy and aesthetics, and in cinematography (the moving image) such as the work of Andrei Tarkovsky.
Tarkovsky was fascinated by Japanese films. He was amazed by how every character on the screen is exceptional and how everyday events such as a Samurai cutting bread with his sword are elevated to something special. He also expressed interest in the art of Haiku and its ability to create “images in such a way that they mean nothing beyond themselves”.

Yu’s precisely executed oil-on-board paintings feature a solitary female figure in some state of spiritual repose or quiet contemplation. Although by no means an unconventional subject matter, she achieves an emptiness that is simultaneously full of a curious atmospheric strength – a quiet simplicity. ‘My recent paintings focus on a balance of photographic realism and non-representational, abstract textures. I explore the field of portraiture through this combination of realism and abstraction to express modern people’s inner thoughts.’
Her Beck Forest series of paintings are evocative of this inhibition or introversion. A bald figure in an off-white trench coat set within a forest-scape is turned away from the gaze of the viewer and therefore of indeterminate sex and indiscernible expression. Such is the reticence that the figure could almost blend into the dense foliage and shadows. It marks a moment that could mean nothing at all.
These haunting images, show the misty and moody influence of Tarkovsky’s The Mirror/1975, Nostalghia/1983 and Stalker/ 1979. Tarkovsky’s predilection is for discontinuous and non-chronological structures, where fictionalised memories enmesh with factual footage, but in Yu’s paintings time appears suspended, held in some precarious balance between the different realms.

Opening Thursday - Sunday 12:00 - 18:00