Duan Jianyu: Sharp, Sharp, Smart

Duan Jianyu: Sharp, Sharp, Smart

Concept: The Pavilion
Editor: Hu Fang, Wang Xiaoyu
Translator: Andrew Maerkle
Designer: Du Yun
Language: Chinese & English Bilingual
Size: 24×18cm
Page: 86
Year: 2016

Duan Jianyu: Sharp, Sharp, Smart completes with the whole “shamate” series she had been working on in last three years, and featured with the drafts produced in the creation process. What is “shamate” in Duan Jianyu’s intention? The question would be only answered by the works in the book, or inspire more thoughts on pure painting.














In fact, everything is disturbed, and standing before Duan Jianyu’s paintings I sense the faint quivers coursing through my body, which make me realize that without a more appropriate language (such as the “Martian” so cherished by the shām?tè), I cannot adequately depict what I see, there is no possibility of preserving from the start the unity of the primitive experience suggested by the body’s trembling, as well as the ecstasy that comes from the experience of disruption – an ecstasy that has been almost completely exhausted in the experience of contemporary life. Compared to those creations in which one projects a conceptual vision onto the canvas, or uses the standards of an ideal form to unsettle reality, the question of how to make the work into something “as chaotic as reality” is far more interesting and challenging. Ultimately, the artist must transcend painterly technique to liberate the inherent ambiguity and complexity of living.


— Excerpts from Hu Fang: Golden Bough about to Flower; Big Breasts Want a Trim, Sharp, Sharp, Smart, p.72



About Duan Jianyu

Born in 1970 in Zhengzhou, Henan province, Duan Jianyu graduated from the oil painting department at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Art in 1995. She currently teaches at the South China Normal University of the Arts in Guangzhou.

Duan Jianyu’s work bizarrely bring us to a blurry and slightly annoying place. Her paintings recall a boundary that is mentally non-tangible in our daily lives. Yet they precisely recall the feeling of living in modern and contemporary China under globalization. Duan Jianyu strives for the most generic subjects matter and she delves into banal expression and style, and very much about life in the present tense. Her painting grows from its proto-concept and outline of different modes of living into a painted reality. Continuously impacted, resisted, altered and formed by the pictures that emerge from different influences, situations and awarenesses, this reality has the same complexity as the material reality before us. Duan Jianyu wanders the boundaries between abstraction and figuration, so-called narrative follows the logic of painting itself, and unknown experiences open up.


Image and Text: the shop, ©Authors, the shop, 2019


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