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The Colors of Jiannan Huang

Author: Dr. Dominique Christian (French)


LABA Blue-chip Artist Jiannan Huang's art studio in Beijing, China


In the 8th Century, an eccentric painter named Zhang Zao, "stripped the colors" to find the tradition of pure black ink. He opened the path to an exceptional collection of masterpieces in traditional Chinese inks. But always the taste for color, the need for color, comes back. In the same way that we dream either in black and white, or in color, painters express themselves in monochrome or in color. This is the case of Jiannan Huang, who invites you into a luminous universe of colored contrasts. We are in front of his inks like a butterfly caught in the light, carried away by emotions. His landscapes have nothing naturalistic about them, but open up to a redoubled calligraphy. Games of form, intention and letting go, are superimposed on games of colors, often primary. Blacks and whites respond to reds, blues, yellows, and fundamentals.


Painting by Jiannan Huang

These radical confrontations often evoke telluric episodes on the origins of the world. Landscapes are evoked there, but they are not subject to the narrative. It is not a question of representation, but of presentation, in the immediate. If we project impressions of "deja vu" onto his works, if we recognize planets, mountains, flowers, we can only be confused. There is always an element that will thwart the interpretation. These inks speak of an elsewhere, something definitely foreign.


Painting by Jiannan Huang

Huang's art is highly appreciated in a China that lets itself be pleasantly bewitched by the vibrations of multicolored neon lights (I am thinking particularly of the ice sculptures of Harbin but more generally of the cities at night and the great festivities, sporting in particular). Chinese tradition affirms that the world deserves to be looked at, whether it is the natural world of mountains and lakes, the artificial world of urban nights, or the world of dreams and phantasmagoria. But is this the primary, primordial character of colors? Huang's brush sometimes leads elsewhere, outside the world, or before. It borders on the music of the spheres.


Dr. Dominique Christian and Jiannan Huang


For a European spectator, this interpellation of primary colors brings back many memories in the thread of the visual arts. At the beginning of the twentieth century, this field of luminous paintings was the playground of many masters: Kandinsky, Dufy, Chagall, and Matisse. Of course, if everyday life is sometimes very dull and gray, Huang's artworks give it a festive air.

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