October 19th, 2020
Jiannan Huang’s latest series of paintings are a culmination of facts and experiences drawn from a life time pursuing a vision that at its most imminent may be described as existential. His persistence as a painter has created a visual language where by acontinuum of focus and experience has determined a form of expression resonant with an Aristotelian schema where by techne creates its own episteme. The confluence of multiple interests and approaches derived from the traditions of Chinese Ink painting and a reading of the capacities of western modernism has created within Mr. Huang’s practice a unique metaphysics - the act of painting itself has determined its own episteme, or system of understanding.
黄建南最新出版的绘画作品集是他一生艺术追求的结晶，他试图展现艺术方面新的视觉。 作为画家的他执着地摸索出了一种视觉语言，通过不断的追求和探索，他探寻出了一种与亚里斯多德式图式产生共鸣的表达形式，而泰恩则通过这种方式与之产生共鸣。 在黄先生的实践中，源于中国水墨传统的多种兴趣和方法的融合以及对西方现代主义能力的理解，创造了一种独特的形而上学的属于自我的艺术体系。
This analysis of Jiannan Huang’s work is best understood through the active critical history that propels China’s rich and immense cultural life. An ongoing questioning of the primacy of the "Ink Art" tradition has dominated the artistic discourse in China throughout the twentieth century. Chinese Ink Art is the oldest co-herent tradition of image making on the planet, having maintained an active, self-referencing epistemology initiated around 400AD. The strictures and conditions of this traditionhave been increasingly challenged by the appearance of new media and artistic practices introduced from the West. The inevitability of Western influence lead to, on the one hand, a cultural protectionism, and on the other a more formal and regulated acceptance of the western modernist tradition.Reflected in the curricula of the Chinese Art Academies, whereGuohua (Chinese-style painting), and Xihua (Western- style painting) form, to this day, segregated and distinctive approaches to the instruction of visual art. Chinese Art Academies have placed Guohua and Xihua into separate departments with distinctive curricula. These separate streams of artistic context also dominate the professional field. Noteworthy, yet not directly applicable to Jiannan Huang’s practice, is the rise of a third “Globalized” or “Post Modern” Art, that emerged in the 1980s that can no longer be categorized by either of these two terms. At times Chinese artists have identified this as "experimental ink painting” or Shiyan Shuimo a modernizationof Chinese Art through the appropriation of western models whilst employing the use of traditional painting instruments and materials such as brush, ink, and paper. Others, still identifying themselves as Shiyan Shuimo utilize new media, and strategiessuch as appropriation and institutional critique within their specific forms of practice.
Sound scholarship responsive to art considers the ongoingcultural and historic processes that determine our subjectivities, particularly as cultural dialogues embrace post-colonial narratives. As Jacques Derrida emphasized, there is ‘no greater indignity than the reading of one culture by another.’
学术研究是一个非常持续的过程，尤其是当东西文化产生碰撞的时候。 正如雅克·德里达（Jacques Derrida）所强调的那样，“文化之间相互的碰撞是一个延续的过程。”
What compels me to respond to Mr. Huang’s painting practice is the expansion of preoccupations of both Guohua and Xihuasimultaneously, that has given rise to a new visual language that may be read as both intrinsic to the craft of painting in both instances, and also extrinsic to those definitions by way of its allusionistic and semiotic conditions. My address is pertinent to Mr. Huang’s iterations of pictorial space, that are both western modernist in intent, traditional in terms of Guohua, and indeed allusionistic and literal in reference.
Mr. Jiannan Huang has arrived at the confluence of these approaches, processing them into his distinctive painting practice which is removed from the institutional orthodoxies of studio arts education. He is a self-taught artist, his paintings are grounded in a vision that was informed equally by his personal and self- guided scholarship, and his witnessing of the seismic historic, social and political alterations that China has undergone in his life time.
Western artists who did not undergo a formal training are designated as “outsider”. I have often thought this term to be oppressive and designed to re-enforce a cultural and economic hierarchy that has evolved from the exclusionary processes of Modernism. In my view this terminology becomes accurate when it is inverted. An “Insider” Artist is one that is motivated by the seeking of a deeper authenticity of experience and its rendering into form. A rejection of institutionalized orthodoxies, replaced by the embrace of the sensory pleasure of existence. The existential phenomenology that underwrites Mr. Huang’s practice is easily traceable - he walked. He spent a large part of his life trekking across China, his journey through out its vastness was the creation of a life narrative grounded in the sensory. A daily practice of living enlivened his senses, and his meditative bandwidth.
Jiannan Huang’s paintings arise from the practice of life. When we survey them, a notion such as “expression” confuses the capacity of the work to induce empathy. Often we think of expression as an end game, a definitive and readable statement of inner feeling. Through paint Mr. Huang, relaxes this preponderance and offers an insight of what it is to bring the ineffable to expression, as opposed to expressing a particular something.
Underwriting these attributes of Jiannan Huang’s work are a set of painterly innovations that coexist, vibrating on the same field. The picture plane to Huang is a vast expansion through which we pass. Our senses are reminded of the levity and possibility of zero gravity, as the image field floats and undulates. Thevibration in Mr. Huang’s work is connected to surface, the tactility of the paint and how its dynamic handling registers an authentic and spontaneous energy. It is the autographic directness, that coalesces to a form. Paradoxically, this non – objective process of painting also successfully delivers imagery. The accumulations of Jiannan Huang’s memories and his phenomena based knowledge is substantiated not in a directly referential co-ordination but are enmeshed in various processes of formal becoming. Cosmological in feel, Mr. Huang’s paintings evoke the universe and its multi-dimensional limitlessness. At all times the spatial relationship to the picture plane and its allusion is adjusted based on our acknowledgement of the painting’s surface qualities. Jiannan Huang brings to expression a sublime and shimmering edge of the infinite.
黄建南先后荣获“2019年全国公益慈善十大影响力人物”“2020年全国学雷锋先进人物”，连续两期被聘为清华大学深圳研究生院兼职研究员，是 中国传统文化促进会理事、 “为奥运喝彩”组委会海外艺术总顾问、法国国立艺术家委员会会员、世界低碳城市联盟艺术顾问、法国吉尼市金质勋章荣誉市民。