March 8, 2009

Sweet Girls Exhibition at National Galery

CP Foundation held a single painting exhibition of Qi Zhilong (47), at National Galerry, Jakarta, March 3-13, 2009. Those paintings show Chinese girl's sweet faces, some of them wearing Mao Tse Tung style uniform. Some of them look more casual and modern. Why are these paintings so special?

This ”Back to Sense Perception After Political Pop” theme exhibition shows 14 paintings, made in middle of 90's to 2000's. Technically, Qi Zhilong's work are just ordinary. The faces series were painted in simple realistic style, not too details, dominate by green-browns color.

These Mao style uniform girls faces series look sad, no make-up. But they show happy faces. these individual expressions seem contrast with their culture revolution uniform in Mao era around 1966-1976, which is indicate a dark-age of China.

For Indonesian curator Jim Supangkat, Qi Zhilong's paintings are not only performs local beauty, but also performs a forbidden individual freedom in revolution era. ”The uniform represent the revolution era that forbid women perform their beauty, but in Qi Zhilong's paintings, those uniform women looks beautiful and happy,” he said.

In modern girls series paintings, their faces look more fresh, more colorful, and some of them have full make-up. Those girl's faces are clean, sweet, like untouchable of hard life.

”They are in high school, in 20s years old. Their faces represent purity, beauty, happiness, and youthfulness,” Qi Zhilong said.

Those happy faces of Mao style uniform girls and modern girls implied an anomaly. Individual freedom is an anomaly in revolution era. Also the pureness of the modern girls who celebrate their freedom.

This 2 kind of anomaly reveal Qi Zhilong's dreams and critics to his society. In this side of view, his works become subversive: criticize the uniformity in revolution era and questioning the present freedom. But those critics are soft and covered behind the charm of sweet girls.

There is no political statement in those paintings. But for them who understand the social displacement in that bamboo curtain country, those faces performs anomalies in the middle of the wind of changes in China history.

Source: by Ilham Khoiri

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