Walasse ting

graphic works - 1984

Text by Emilio Villa

Qhis exhibition of works by the Chinese painter Walasse Ting will be counted among the incisive events, an initiatory event, full of consequences, in the history of our years of art, here in Italy: the appearance of a material, created and certain, of ancestry in a precise context, it brings, together with ancient crystallizations, and moments of timeless matter, a complete resonance destined to animate them, and merge them, exhaust them, beyond their own uprooting, in imminent, changing, thresholds of contemplation.

We Western observers have very great, gigantic painters within our reach; sleepless animators with a unitary eye, enveloping, convoluted, and indeed circumcised, polychrome and polyphemic, never dull, never betrayed or intimidated blindness, the descent fixed vertically, in a precipitous gaze over the bottom of the pictorial Mother Waters. The Oriental on the other hand, let's say “the Chinese” has always had two eyes, small eyes, but two. Now, as a meticulous modern specimen, in this painting by Ting, therefore of charismatic ancestry, or Chinese descent by grace and nature, we will have to note: first, the ecstatic naturalness as the expressive degree of the Great Fable; then the paràdosis (transmission, tradition, translation, transit) of the "color" genre, which animates the consultation of the past model as an argument for the future unveiling of the natural world, that is, the world that finds its place "in the incessant help of the imaginative action typical of painting as it proceeds from a single and homogeneous body of color; that it is decidedly ecstatic, and pariah through the wrist (in the West it would be said, certainly it was said in ancient phases, the "demon") of the artist; and, finally, the “Sitz in Leben”, precisely, the “position in the world” which is a necessary dimension of the existing.

This painting by Ting, which we objectively define "Chinese" only because we know that it is produced by a Chinese artist, comes out, protrudes, emerges almost directly from its own matrix: and not from a “historical” matrix, or from a technical evolution ”; but intimate, parallel to the great procedures by which life itself reveals itself, or dares. In the body, in the form, vital and illusory abode of the Apparition, the metaphor is always lit, and always meteor, without transformation, the fragile and enchanted search for equanimous dreams for the promise Gnosis and for the oblivion of plots and corollaries of arteries; the innocence of pure revelation flows; that descends into the beds of the incessant "veils", goes back to the caves of silence, pushes the breath to produce secret banks, to dress the dazzling flower with shadows and diaphanous measures, to cultivate the certainties of indefinable love on the slopes, to nourish the irrepressible , but contained, semblances of the "Poses"; and to make the distance of the blood useless. Ting's painting describes the meeting (perhaps the friction) between the "veiling" and the color; marks the severe, and very sweet, balance hidden between the pondus mundi and the lightness of the air, between the lightness of growth and rigor mortis (always apparently larval, ancestral, the figure returns), between leavening and gravitation. The world is covered by transparent, colored, lanky agitation (almost, but lukewarmly, feverish) as from a flight of blind, deep, and woven birds, gauze of very soft breaths, but mute, as if he wanted to enclose the sunset of the figure of the human, or the shadow of erratic dew: very light trumpets of radiant timbres, stones of pouring light, ephemeral beats, plains of abstruse auspices, blind spaces of revealed urns.

The different conception of the relationship between man and painting, it is a phase that is not problematic, not "historical": but which is itself an exegesis and execution of itself; for which time always appears in contraction, forced on the surface in one dimension but with a poignancy of depth, of intensely contemporary revelation, instantaneous and always promising in a genealogy of horizons generated by transparency and by its incidents of perspective. Rose-coloured, pinkish skirmishes, on blue wounds, on slashes and sabres of delicate intellect, of almost blinding readiness, like the moment of a supreme athletic test; and slow diversions of tones, as if to liturgically treat an ancestor's thud (a presence of ancestors? ), procreation and perception in the heart of a non-inflammable obsession with distant (in time, in space) colors, with melodious hallucinations: to conjugate without pause the line with the color, in a hidden game, spontaneous exchange, lightning fast deviation, operated towards the great confrontation, filtered and internalized, with the most mysterious recesses, and even mystical, of the sex of death.

From which the talk of excellent optical-ophthalmic properties is soaked in the air and in mist of revulsion (return to the still not figurative sphere, let's say to the infinite / indefinite embryonic moment), to the heartbeat of image and hiatus and of times disappearing, vanished, unconscious but prepared in essence and filigree where the prolonged echo of living in the grace of “in tune” light and color is grafted. Because the "tonalities", the tones, engraved or dragged as true events of vision, are true, they are dogmatic, in Ting, and they are determined: and yet they do not constrain either freedom or chance they simply emerge, sprinkle, gather, pose. Like a temple of butterflies on a blue hill, a rosalimone bleat that reduces souls drifting away or in landslide of colors, between gold-green, dull turquoise, violent ultramarine; and skies of doves exposed to the air of future flutes; with a handwriting of crowns and hedges, a handwriting of thorns that watch, a handwriting of a hornet on glass walls; just like Chinese character writing; and waves of soul hanging on stilts and curtains, sensitive imprints of elements, waves of transparencies expelled from wombs of gray-gold mists, stirring with soft compasses, between small abysses and brief happiness: where you find a trembling but serene spirit, which resists the Away ”, to separation, to waiting for wandering time, in wandering absence: but written, drawn, designated as a true theology of absence. The ellipses, the serpentines, the threatening interferences, straforo echoes of isolated images; the foreboding of the opening and the crash that does not happen, the dream a little crumpled by reality, the startle of the line, disturbing labyrinth neither closed nor open, the obsessive (or possessive?) velarium in which the color drowns imitating the eclipse of the existing, and the cusp of ambiguity. Waves, waves: do we say ioculs unde? iocus undae, undae iocosae!

Luminescent banks and riverbeds, and the very bottom of the solitude of the world, furrowed by the senses, landing of gazes, of simplified and full images, crowded, chaste and devoted to shores of clear echoes, of seasons as minimal eddies, as windows, as semense of vertical horizons, inflorescence of climates, in narrow and absorbed reverberation; and in the evolution of the lines and the unduloids it is not the figuration of the humanoid or the zoomorph, or the fetish or the icons, or the anatomical "portraits": but the simple affinity of the breath with its unlimited travel, with the flashing drift on the fluids laws of color: cosmogonic (unconsciously, but strongly) comparison, crossing of memory without body, without matter: it is a cosmography of the imaginary that creates its profound moments, its propitious time to reveal itself, its kairòs; and the color then, here, dissolves in diaphanous resistance (we should perhaps recall the dramatic veils of Tiepolo; or the hallucinations of Turner; or, closer to us, and so forgotten, the explosions of Ciurlianis, 1905; or the breathtaking naturalness of the "school of the Pacific", between Robert Graves, and Tobey; and the initiatives closest to us, such as those of Sam Francis): a feast of naked feelings, of elementary feeling, of colored sentences at the source of empty, traced and silent mornings in turquoise and garments, in warmed greens, in tamed reverberations, in crackling halos of orbits stopped at the sign of uninterrupted explanation and of suspended, immeasurable sleep, at the door of the lasting repeated tide. Amusements ruining in rains of mist, discreet and tenaciously subdued iridescences, in snappy directions and in barely hinted exorbitances, in dilapidated births, available and lively as wombs that the infinite balance illuminates in the ever-renewed corner, always intact, at dark point-blank, of fever sealed as by invisible claws (we insist on the comparison: like Chinese writing, which is always, every sign, a ball of claws inside a cage of knots, or une cage a grillons.

Of the "women" pictured here, these beings, these person-figures, a woman, two women, a head, two women in the middle foreground, and two more women, and the feline, and the clandestine animals in the air or in the dreamy jungle: there are not many images, but a single image, that of the spell or the nightmare, or of indifference or of the theater of the operating fantasy; agitation of color as matter that advances in the bed of a memory, or that drifts towards the place of unique being, with penetrated subtlety, with apprehension, with shatters, with burrs, with breezes and gusts of all kinds, tumultuously , indissolubly celebrated by the vehemence of the "unequal-everything-is-equal", and only color is free, changeable in its grid of strict discipline, a confident garden of the mind that sees waiting, in the lashes of signs, and what it is always moving in the figure, and "personal", it is precisely their agitated, almost convulsive, solemnity: as Emily Dickinson would say: "After great Pain, a formai feeling comes"; and referring to the pain that has invaded, like a sky, the person of our painter.

Grown by the changing night of time and suffering, the figures have eyes, not so much almond-shaped, but in sharp threads or cracks; eyes that have nothing to say or ask for, if not their very secret reason, and acute vigilance over a senseless thing, namely the question: “What is at the source of sex? What is stirring at the source of all vehemence? ”.

Thus, these "women" open and close their own maturity, incited and recited demand, in calm words and excessively musiced, poetic, of obliquity, long-limbed, longitudinality, anamorphicity, indivisibility, and all the huddled extractions / abstractions; and dyed in tangles of dispersion and inversion, tangles of sung soul (Ting works the picture as an "ode", in the Laotzian sense, in fragile notes of a future harp, immense), softly arched, rising from foliage and craters of exalted tension: and there is the Ting, which says: "whoever seeks the source is at the landing, which is a circle of burning mud, the color", simulating and consuming, whipping and caressing timbres and impulses, stains and reverberations, resonances and registers, of a timid and austere vision of the world: a teeming chain of tonal allegories, coordinated on the drafts of the “polychrome / polychrome”, in very cautious, restrained and vibrant vapors, flashes, flashes and chiasma; as driving echoes of this livid and dazzling acknowledgment, to be disseminated in one's own vision and generated in ashen, very sweet, acute, lethargy, which is to say liturgy. Liturgy: and if we take a closer look if we use the recognition of the casual ophthalmic mechanism, which makes us say, of certain stupendous Helienic sculptures, "eginetic smile", precisely for our own projections, we should define with a comparison the creatural being and having to be that expires in the ideographic threads of the figures of Ting, the trace of the eyes; one should think that they even contain an immense sleep of boddisathva, a sphere of very mysterious exploration, of delicate destinies: like an anthropological restoration curated by hands and wrists of physics and arrogant clandestine antiquity, of pensive anatomy in the course of perennial drift.