Hu Fang: When it comes to the human body, what can it tell us about the will of a person, or his or her struggles in a particular situation? The figures in your paintings often seem to have deformed joints or backbones so they can’t move properly, but somehow they are able to find a new posture and balance themselves. I find this quite touching. I like to imagine your drawings filled with light and sound, and in terms of these qualities the figures stand out as the most penetrating. This is also when their “will” seems to shine through the strongest.
Firenze Lai: I would describe the “will” you mentioned as our physical and mental ability to adapt to a particular situation. The body and the mind are interconnected. Our physical self is the result of our state of mind, and vice versa. My figure drawings don’t show physically handicapped people. They are about people who behave in a certain way as a result of their thoughts, or about people whose thoughts are altered because of the way they move. These situations could be the result of something impermanent such as our mood, our surroundings or a particular atmosphere. Or they may be the long-term effects of inertia, our careers or personalities, or the roles we play in society. For the sake of survival, we constantly have to balance our mind and body, just like plants tilting towards the sun. There’s yet another thing I’ve been trying to express in my drawings – the awkward feeling of not knowing how to get along with yourself. I see painting as the best medium to illustrate scenes of unease. We often think we should match our facial expressions and body language with the situation at hand, but we often can’t live up to these expectations and appear clumsy as a result. When we are unable to adapt to our surroundings, we become a parody of ourselves. I think this sense of being out of place offers a turning point for us: it is the transitory moment for an individual to transform into a character. This is what really moves me.
The Forking Paths
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