Yafeng Duan: Form of the Formless

Cat. Galerie Michael Janssen

Exhibition catalogue, text (English/Chinese) by Jurriaan Benschop
32 p with 20 coloured illustrations
295 x 210 mm, stapled brochure

ISBN 978-3-86442-412-0

24,80 €

In what way does chance influence the work?

Most important when painting is to switch off your head, to let yourself be guided, says German-Chinese painter Yafeng Duan, who was born in Hebei in 1973 and now lives in Berlin. In what way do the paints participate, how do canvas and paper behave, where does the brush lead the hand? Airy and dense, light and dark, inner and outer world, broad brush­strokes and fine lines in the tradition of ink paint­ing, resistance and flow, solid surfaces and floating colours. All of this, Duan continues, corresponds to the rhythm of breathing in and breathing out. Added to this is the element of chance, which can be brought into play without esoteric con­notations, as for instance with the compositional technique of John Cage, who drew on the »I Ching« as a structuring principle. Ideas of form are thus invariably linked to procedural ­questions: in what way does chance influence the work, how much of this chance is good for it? Originating from Taoism, the principles of yin and yang are then almost inevitably invoked. ­Originally, these terms stood for the »darkness and the south bank of the river«, for a »shady place« (yin) and, in contrast to this, for the ­»brightness of the sun, the sunny hill on the south side of the mountains« (yang). It is also said of Yafeng Duan’s abstract painting that it creates spaces that only opened up when viewed over a longer period of time; not all of them will ­remain, some might rather deform or even dissolve altogether.

Galerie Michael Janssen, Berlin, 27/1 – 18/3/2023