NOV 3, 2022
Nuanced Floral Symphony is a concept artwork created by artist Jinhua Yuan in July 2018. The work is a multi-media installation that combines performance art, time-based installation, and conceptual art - its creation and its exhibition happen at the same time - making it irreproducible in itself. On a mirrored cuboid in the middle of the gallery space, running water, candlelight, Buddha statues and a large number of seasoned flowers are arranged. In this seemingly static scene, the artist affects the entire space with a huge "scanner". Accompanied by a steady electromagnetic sound, the laser moves slowly, and every time it goes back and forth, the flowers and the installation change inadvertently: red to green, cold to warm, yin to yang, echoing the changing seasons. The work was slowly transformed from the first day of the exhibition. During the month of the exhibition, viewers continued to bring new inspirations to the work, and gradually explored new directions of the work’s expression as they relate other contents to the theme. The condition of the flowers changed over time, as if from blooming to death, and it also seemed like a superposition of this series of states. The artist wants to use life to express death, use pleasant scenery to express serenity, and use beauty to complete the heavy life process. The scale of time cannot be repeated, and the depth of the work continues to increase.
Laodong Road, a famous cultural street in Hangzhou, is less than one kilometer in length. There are a large number of small galleries and antique shops, as well as the Confucian Temple, the West Lake Chinese Academy, the Teahouse, the Blind Massage Shop, barber shops, hardware stores, and small supermarkets that are hidden on both sides of the road. In the last century, Ladong Road was like other art districts in the world, witnessing the development of traditional Chinese art. In a small gallery next to the supermarket, there may be works of art worth tens of millions or even hundreds of millions displayed— —It gave the entire street an unexpected dynamic. The artist completed this creation in a month, and the inspiration for the work is the reflection on the community of Laodong Road as a whole.
According to the artist’s description, Yibaozhai, where Yuan’s work is exhibited, is a traditional painting and calligraphy shop. The two walls are covered with paintings of Wu Changshuo, Sha Menghai, Lu Yifei, Wang Bomin, Lu Kunfeng, and Zhou Changgu, which were collected by the hostess. A huge mirrored cuboid is placed in the center of the space, surrounded by seasonal flowers, willows, Buddha statues, and candles from West Lake. "In the steady electromagnetic sound, the laser moved slowly, from flower buds, through the stream of flowers, to individual petals, almost a thousand flowers, back and forth for an hour at a time. Flowers and paintings are inadvertently changing, time is passing, red and green lights are changing, the shadows are changing, the sun is rising and then setting, and it is constantly reincarnating." Yuan Jinhua completed a piece of creation in one month, activating this art block. "Recording a month's worth of flowers, in fact, the life of a flower, from flowers to withering and dying, is equivalent to the concept of time. The same is true for people, who come and walk naked, and life is concise. One flower, one world, one leaf, one coming, finally expressed a kind of respect for life, a kind of reverence."
The appearance of flowers changes over time, while Jinhua Yuan records all the contingency, imperfection, and fleetingness in life.
For the artist, both the flower and the audience are part of the work, which is more of a community art concept. In this work, the artist himself is only a special audience: he also participates in the understanding and interpretation of this work, rather than leaving it entirely to the audience. During the month of the exhibition, Yuan Jinhua meditated, stood, and communicated with the audience in the exhibition hall. During this month, he met many people, including travel experts, post-80s civil servants, architects, fashion editors, foreigners who mistakenly thought they had entered the foot bath shop, and Wang Zai, the dog in the shop. Their stories became part of the " Nuanced Floral Symphony " and brought a lot of new inspiration. The artist and audience work together to enrich the work.
"The key is what kind of thinking you have, and what kind of position and attitude you have towards the present. This is very important. It is not meticulous to simply use technology to judge the level of artistic presentation," Yuan Jinhua commented. "The traditional idea is that the concept is very new to be contemporary, but in fact contemporary needs to come from tradition, that is, inheritance and development. Tradition can only be formed if there is inheritance and development, and that part of development is contemporary. The spirit of Chinese painting and the spirit of Chinese ink painting are creation. Inheritance is the foundation, and creation is the core of Chinese painting history.”
Only when an artist has some kind of connection with real life can the creations be fresh and powerful. The work Yuan Jinhua wants to present is a kind of support that only the crowd can feel. As Yuan Jinhua said, he seeks a possibility to solve problems through " Nuanced Floral Symphony", focusing on time and memory, trying to present his understanding of tradition and the present in different ways.
The work contains the time and space fragments of the artist in the Yibaozhai venue from June 30 to July 30, 2017, that is, the entire work of 2017 Nuanced Floral Symphony. The withering of thousands of flowers in that time and space, the participation of the artist, the immediate reaction of the audience at that time, and all the conceptual interactions that took place in that time and space.
The inner page of the album with the same name "Nuanced Floral Symphony"
Artist Yuan Jinhua believes that this is a discussion of the artistic dimension of NFT. "Before the NFT art carrier form came out, a large number of artists tried to preserve their own artistic experiments, including but not limited to conceptual art, performance art, and some installations, but they all had limitations: some art forms could ultimately preserve only video or ownership transfer contract. This is not the purpose of the artist. What the artist hopes is that the concept of the entire work can be extended for a long time, which is mutually exclusive with the irreproducibility of artistic experiments; such an oxymoron exudes captivating charm. It is like a Node, a record of things that cannot be recorded in art history. So I want to try to save a work that has happened in the form of NFT: it exists and will not exist again. All works of art cannot exist forever. I want to use NFT, a relatively long-term art carrier that discusses whether an artwork can have another form of direct interpretation when it only exists in the record.”
The work is the artist's second creation based on the work of Nuanced Floral Symphony. There are 31 pieces in total. It is the product of the artist's realization of community art after the end of the work. The artist anticipated when he chose this street as the venue for the exhibition. As a traditional Chinese art street, Laodong Road has a very complex business format: it has long been influenced by the China Academy of Art, there are a large number of private galleries and antique shops, and professors of art departments often hang out here. At the same time, this street is also one of the few old residential areas in Hangzhou. The living needs of the local elderly give this street a certain living atmosphere. Foot spas, small restaurants, hardware stores, and galleries are spaced apart without being incompatible. This street is also in the middle of several famous scenic spots in Hangzhou, so some commercialized exquisite cafes and designer buyers have also settled in. Therefore, the artist came up with the idea of having a good chat with the old and new neighbors of this street about art.
Throughout the creation process of community art, what the artist wants to discuss is the feedback on the same image, including life and death, love and indifference, radiance and silence. During this process, the atmosphere in the workspace gradually condenses like a cumulonimbus cloud, and finally presents a simple, strong texture that only belongs to this block. During the residency in the exhibition, the artist expressed the emotions received and the emotions of the participants with traditional Chinese painting techniques and created dozens of sketches of flowers and birds. He selected works and combined them with the audience's impression of the large-scale installation of Nuanced Floral Symphony and the atmosphere and color, allowing the audience to participate in the creation process to a greater extent by describing their own fantasy and choosing the perspective of viewing the installation that they care more about. Finally, through some programming and image processing techniques, the two are combined to show a special interpretivism: that is, the expressor interprets the interpreter's expression. This dislocation of a sense of identity is like data handling skills: it puts greater emphasis on shared emotions. Jinghua expects to be able to see the synaesthesia of senses other than vision, and to deconstruct the overall impression of the work from different perspectives in a laissez-faire way.