Soul Oxygen No.8 / CEN LONG’s View of Art
Because I felt that I found a place where my soul could reside at the first sight of Permeke’s painting, I have always preferred him to many others. He is a prominent figure of the twentieth century European Expressionism. Many characters in his paintings, are grotesque and distorted farmers and fishermen whose appearances almost border ugliness, however, they are all adorable to an extent that they make one’s heart ache. Permeke relies on the personal experiences he gained by his feelings to create his figures, and depends on it to express his passion to its fullest degree. He discards many intricate details such as facial features, pleating of clothes and the surroundings, etc. so he could build the spiritual world he sought after with a deeper and more unlimited imagination.
Soul Oxygen No.7 / CEN LONG’s View of Art
The embodiment of a soul, the thoughts stirred by one painting of Antonio Mancini…
The more profound the soul of one painting, the more touching it is. Regardless of the painting forms: abstract or figurative, painters hope to convey their spirit through their works and converse with the audiences, that it, to use the language of paintings to have a spiritual conversation with the viewers.
Soul Oxygen No.6 / CEN LONG’s View of Art
A small chat extending from two figures by Velazquez…
Whenever the quiet night grasps me, some figures appear to accompany my thoughts, they may be family, or companions. Sometimes, however, there appear faces of whom I never knew, figures from the paintings of the great. Two of those figures, quite magically, belong four decades before me. But nevertheless, their faces appear so familiar and almost palpable. I fancied to have heard the soft sound of their breath, and felt the smell of garlic and onion coming off of them. It is the jester Don Juan Calabazas and the prophet Aesop in the paintings of “The Dwarf Don Juan Calabazas.”
Soul Oxygen No.5 / CEN LONG’s View of Art
In the late 80s, my painting Twilight Snow, was admitted to China’s first oil paint exhibition. So as if under queer circumstances and chances, I was acquainted with the Wuhan Provincial Federation of Literary and Art Circles, and earned temporary, the right to use a studio at the Wuhan Art Academy, where I ate, lived and painted. That was when the belief in Cultural Revolution was just overthrown, and all ideologies just begun to spring from suppression. There was hardly any circulation of books on literature and art, only some government supervised organizations still possessed collections of such books, like government owned libraries and some departments relevant to publishing and producing art. Books, especially those related to art, were extremely rare.
Soul Oxygen No.4 / CEN LONG’s View of Art
Since long ago, I have known a Russian song, Tyomnaja Notch (dark night), by heart. Whenever my loneliness strikes me, its tune springs from the deepest corner of my heart spontaneously.
When I was a teen, both my parents were persecuted during the Cultural Revolution, and were both put into prison. My father, lost his life to this maelstrom. Their savings were frozen; my little brother had just started elementary school. With the recommendation of a high school classmate, I started apprenticing at the train depot, taking over the space of the workers who left to rebel. My meals were provided by the depot, and my earnings of five cents a day could buy six bowls of noodle for my brother. Every aspect of the reality then was mired in chaos. People were suspended in a state of delirium, few people showed up to work and all the positions were in need of employees. Automobiles were stranded and derelict, and most part of the railway system was paralyzed. I hadn’t fully grown at that time, I was barely as tall as the coal shovel, but just with a little training, I was sent on the train as a training stoker. However, to be truthful, I really took up the job of a formal employee.