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Week 11 (28/11 - 2/12) I just want to see you again (...

Updated: Dec 5, 2022

(To the dead and unknown faces behind the masks, and to the past and to the future )


Put a label at the bottom of the frame this Monday or Tuesday (memory loss) saying "THE FUTURE IS HOT. THE FUTURE IS NOW." As a Hongkonger I am already part of an entity that seek and fight for freedom (the fighting part kind of suspended). Hong Kong is (was haha) highly developed and civilised, which is the foundation for actualising ideals. Yet we are now light-years away from doing that and light-years away from real democracy and freedom. Instead, we are moving backwards to become like a Soviet state... guess this frustration "simmered" and the wish sublimed to match the ai art midjourney's aesthetic that I want to learn from.

But it is not bounded to that interpretation. If you wish to stick to politics, recently White Paper Revolution broke out in China, that is really simmering. Iran protests are also still going on, Ukraine is still fighting against Russia's invasion, Myanmar is still under control by military...

In the letters between Einstein and Freud, Einstein asked Freud "why war" and in part of Freud's reply he said that violence is a feature of self-preservation of the human species. What makes the difference is only the target is "internal" or "external". And the way peace can be achieved is to guide the human, or when it becomes a bigger entity, like an establishment, to shift the aggression to something that would not cause war. Freud thought that although wars are horrible, they are not necessarily evil, international effort to keep long term peace might in some cases, undermines wars of resistance or revolutions, in pursuit of freedom and justice.

The above is about war, but I think Freud can also explain the case of tyranny. These letters between two of the greatest minds in history seem to have already answered one of the "big questions". To me, there is no salvation in humanity itself. The only way out is to transcend humanity. Knowing that history will repeat itself, we still have to fight for what we uphold. Can someone do anything knowing the results beforehand? What is the meaning of all these then. That is perhaps related to another reason why I can still hold on to my religion somehow, besides wondering if there is no "coincident" at all, but rather God's work, including the existence of the universe. As Galileo said, "Mathematics is the language in which God has written the universe." But that's not what I am concerning right now. During despair, we often question why and what is the meaning (of life). I kind of already had that realisation because of "witnessing" deaths and tragedies in the city of Hong Kong, and because of religion. But it is worth mentioning why I think it is possible.

It is winter here in UK now. The day is so short and almost every time I step out of the studio, it is already dark. As an average Hongkonger, I am used to nightlife but it is different here because Farnham is a small town with not much lighting in the streets, unlike Hong Kong, lights are so dim on my way home. When the cars drove past me, I couldn't help but pay attention to the movement of dust in the air, or the fog that seems to be indicating winter's arrival. Then I thought, I wouldn't notice these things if it isn't so dark. Perhaps the darkness makes us see what we don't usually see. A few days ago, I watched a short news video about people in Avdiivka, Ukraine, finding shelter in basements. A resident said the locals are much more religious now. Wittgenstein seemed to have "met" God in the time of war:

“What do I know about God and the purpose of life? I know that this world exists. That I am placed in it like my eye in its visual field. That something about it is problematic, which we call its meaning. This meaning does not lie in it but outside of it. That life is the world. That my will penetrates the world. That my will is good or evil. Therefore that good and evil are somehow connected with the meaning of the world.The meaning of life, i.e. the meaning of the world, we can call God. And connect with this the comparison of God to a father.” ― Ludwig Wittgenstein, Notebooks 1914-1916

Photos added on Monday :p


 Let me split my personality and perform a psychoanalysis on my artwork and myself and interpret this painting.

First, let’s start with the little label below the painting saying “the future is now”. Just note that because of special relativity, we now understand that a universal, definite "now" does not exist. “Now” is only for idealists. (Einstein: "People like us, who believe in physics, the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubborn illusion.") Therefore, whatever means anything would be the future.

The circular opening suggests a burning sun, the shape of the circle suggests eternity (not the sun though). The surrounding darkness suggests the sky or space. The see-through-ness of glass creates a threshold for light to pass through, symbolising an exit, or a resolution, or an escape from struggles, or a doorway to the unknown.

The human figures are all facing towards the opening, their faces are obscure. This refers to the people seen in a march, when marching alongside. The artist makes tribute to them for she does not know if they are still alive or dead but she wants to see them again. All of them have one hand reaching out to the circle, hinting at the pursuit of something, could be salvation in transcendence. And their bodies like melting or vaporising, implies that the pursuit costs. The two smaller humans being upside down, having no control of their motion, connotes the powerlessness of the general quest of ideals or the manifest of moral values, throughout history and the foreseeable future of mankind.

Finally, the choice of material reflects the state of the mind of the artist — the instability of paint on glass echoes to the uncertainties that stem from the political environment in her hometown. The old English style window represents the current situation of the artist herself— being in a foreign land that has some historical and ongoing relation to her own. When she looks out, what she sees is not even the scenery of her hometown, but rather the political, metaphysical and religious sentiment.


Well, back to visual of this painting. To this point, I am still struggling with the backside of the glass. I put the gesso on again before I left studio on Friday, because I don't like the idea of seeing clearing through the hole, but overall the whole picture sees to look better like this, with all the strokes showing clearly... Let's see how it looks when it is dried on Monday...

Fascinating ... no?


Let me give some credit to people giving comments and suggestions and help to me to do this things. Thank you my classmates, especially the Darrell, Zack, Camila, Joy, Paige, and Juliette, at the group crit session with her, Andrea, Tim and Aurora, who helped with making the stand for the window.

And also this week's life drawing, being kind of exactly what I need! Lighting session with loads of back light! I enjoyed it so much! In fact I am still surprised and confused how come it can be taken away from the curriculum because people did not go! How could anyone not enjoy drawing!!!

It gave me more confident in adding the last human figure (last before Monday but I actually think this picture needs many more people in it).

All the human figures are resisting, melting, fading away, not in control, because I think it can represent the stuggle between desparately hoping to achieve the goal and knowing that sacrifices are inevitable

Gotta take extra care with the whole thing. Not only because the window is so old that it is actually on the brink of falling apart, but also there is nothing to catch the paint firmly on the glass, even a paint brush can scrap paint off from the glass,

BTW something exciting happened in the middle of the week — I finally get to shoot film photo with a real film camera, and learn to process that myself! (Camera: Canon AE-1, film: Kentmere ISO 400 black and white) The photos will be printed during the workshop next week!

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