Lalan is the only female artist in this curated section; her unique, bold, and feminine avant-garde thought constitutes a crucial moment in the history of 20th century post-war Chinese art. Lalan was born into a scholarly family in Guizhou. Her father was well versed in music, and from an early age she cultivated a profound appreciation for musical finery. During the 1930s, Lalan entered Hangzhou School of Art, going on to study music at Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts, which had been established by Hsiao Chin’s father Xiao Youmei. A year after visiting France in 1948, Lalan went to the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts to study composition, where she was strongly influenced by the composer Edgar Varese, and began to explore the then fashionable trend of producing electronic music. Furthermore, she was also inspired to begin studying modern dance by Martha Graham. However, it was only after 1957 that Xie began to use painting as a medium for her artistic expression. This experience thus stimulated the genesis of her future style of Synthesized Art – a combination of music, dance, and painting.
“The movement of a painting is brought out by its internal voice and motion.” Lalan
In Untitled (Lot 1015), Lalan expertly displays her rhythmic, dancing aesthetic, alongside her skilled application of spontaneity. Besides, she also integrates the brushwork of traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy, infusing it into the cadence of the piece, creating a new and innovative form of distinctly Chinese aesthetics. Though a large amount of the surface of Untitled is left blank, the centre of the piece is dominated by slender, delicate lines, dexterously rising upwards as though outlining the shape of a landscape. The rendering of the paint creates a smoky, misty effect – a distinct aesthetic of Chinese landscape painting. The layers of cyan meld into the splashes of light yellow and magenta. The gentle, graceful colours resemble the drifting skirt hems of a dancer, and the equally beautiful lines are imbued with a sense of tension, their movement mimicking that of an expressive, unbridled pirouette. Lalan’s art is a fusion of music, dance, and painting; she never makes a draft but rather allows her brush to become the direct conduit of expression for her consciousness and inner self. Hence, the dancing movements in Untitled are undoubtedly a manifestation of the heartfelt feeling that Xie has dedicated her life to expressing.
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