17
17
Lalan (Xie Jinglan)
LE PRINTEMPS EST EN RETARD (DELAYED SPRING)
Estimate
700,000900,000
LOT SOLD. 875,000 HKD
JUMP TO LOT
17
Lalan (Xie Jinglan)
LE PRINTEMPS EST EN RETARD (DELAYED SPRING)
Estimate
700,000900,000
LOT SOLD. 875,000 HKD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Lalan (Xie Jinglan)
1921-1995
LE PRINTEMPS EST EN RETARD (DELAYED SPRING)
signed in Pinyin; titled in French on the reverse, executed circa 1970s
oil on canvas
160 by 79.8 cm.; 63 by 31 1/2  in.
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Provenance

Acquired directly from the artist by the current owner

Exhibited

Shanghai, Shanghai Art Museum, My Vision of Paradise - Retrospective of Lalan's Art, 2009, p. 88
Macau, Museu de Arte, Fragrance of the Mind: A Retrospective of Lalan's work, 5 March - 30 May, 2010, No.30, p. 59

Catalogue Note

Though she was originally respected as being the first wife of Chinese painter Zao Wou-Ki, as well as his acting muse during their marriage, it was through Lalan's career as an artist, musician, and dancer that enabled her to secure an identity separate from the legacy of her former husband. "I lived painting in its modern form through the work of my former companion, until the day when, taking off my muse's habit, I discovered that I could no longer live without painting for myself"1, she said.

The present work Le Printemps est en Retard (Delayed Spring) created circa 1970s, is demonstrative of her maturity as a painter and confidence with the medium. It was created after a one year hiatus from painting, and saw the artist return to her cultural heritage, notably finding inspiration in Chinese landscape paintings and the aesthetic principles of shen (spirit) and xing (shape), as well as reading Taoist literature2. The pieces developed during these years were naturalistic settings governed by a predominantly monochrome color scheme. White populated the works, for it was "powerful, but ambiguous...fluid, luminous, but also somber"3. She sought to divorce herself from the habitual constructs of ego-inspired motifs in favor of abstract landscapes that were void of shapes and forms, and yet harmonious in their compositions. The latter was a celebration of kinetic energy and expression, essentially capturing the essence of dance within a two dimensional plane.

Throughout Lalan's collection of works, names are gifted with importance, for they help ground an abstract scene within the boundaries of intellectual understanding. Le Printemps est en Retard (Delayed Spring) is representative of this creative relationship. Amidst a largely white background inhabited by energetic brushstrokes of brown and black, the title of the work guides the viewer in comprehending the narrative of the piece. However akin with modern dance, the painting does not adhere to one interpretation, and allows the audience to apply their own meaning onto the scene.

Lalan began painting in the late fifties, beginning first with watercolors before finding solace in oil painting. She favored the technique of painting above a canvas that had been laid out horizontally on the ground. Influenced by ancient Chinese calligraphy and the practice of reading oracle bones, she embraced linear forms as modes of expression within the sparse narratives. Later paintings reveal her simultaneous research on music, dance and painting, learning how to bring together these three schools into an independent source of artistic expression within the works.

Within the artist's oeuvre it may be said that the pairing of the physical with the movements of the paintbrush, is further intensified by her appreciation of bodily expression as a form of art. The playwright Eugene Ionesco once described her collection of works as such: "From the very start a movement—a slightly reckless movement—is expressed in her painting[s], a violent burst, a dramatic ardor. Gradually this is all decanted. The movement takes shape, that is, becomes rhythmic. The torrent is contained. The artist achieves mastery, chooses and, without impairing her spontaneity, directs it, varies it, observes herself"4.

1. Sophy Thompson and Antoine Chen Yen Fon, Lalan, J. M. Beurdeley, France, 2007, p. 21
2. Kent Leong Chi Kin, Fragrance Of The Mind: A Retrospective of Lalan's Work, Museu de Arte de Macau, Macau, 2010, p. 51
3. Sophy Thompson and Antoine Chen Yen Fon, Lalan, J. M. Beurdeley, France, 2007, p. 83
4. Sophy Thompson and Antoine Chen Yen Fon, Lalan, J. M. Beurdeley, France, 2007, p. 29

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