Mao Xiaolang’s Artworks
As someone with very little talent for visual art, technique comes across like a magic trick. Looking at paintings I experience the same kind of wide-mouthed bafflement as I would in a ‘is this your card’ sleight of hand. It will never cease to amaze me how a flat piece of paper can be made to appear so real and three dimensional. This is something that impresses me particularly with Mao Xiaolang’s work.
It’s all grey and obscure, but clearly with deliberate intention. Mao Xiaolang likes to show the holes and dips and nooks and crannies of what might be landscapes of the ocean or industrial buildings like broken children’s playgrounds. Despite the wide swaths of darkness there’s a beautiful, intense detail in the entangled swirls and loops that often make up the basis for his paintings. There are shattered mirrors, hints of seafoam, mountains which may well be sleeping bodies, caves, sand dunes and bridges. Perhaps this says something about my inability to interpret art. After all, when my younger students gave me squiggles of multi-colours and I dutifully asked if they were making rainbows they would firmly inform me that they were snakes. Still, I think there’s something ambiguous in Mao’s artwork, as though you’re squinting at a strange place in the night-time with a vague understanding that you’ve been here before.
It’s all beautifully unclear and interestingly done. While skill evades me, my talent for curiosity and my desperate need to understand that which has deliberately remained obscure remains strong. So, let’s go to some questions in the hope that some brief answers from the artist will reveal more than my rambling ever could:
Short Interview with Mao Xiaolang conducted by Cathy Davies
What do your pieces symbolise to you? 您如何思考艺术中的象征（以您的作品为例）？
The moment you start to feel it is art, my works begin to deliver some sense of symbols. 如果你感觉那是艺术，它就具有了某种象征。
Why the almost exclusive use of black and grey? 为什么您的画中几乎都由黑色和灰色主导?
Black, white and grey reveal the deep serenity of art to me, I am absorbed in this quiet world. 黑白灰表达的是艺术的沉静，我喜欢沉静。
What are you imagining when you create these pieces? 您在创作的时候会有怎样的想象呢？
I aspire to follow those evidences, no matter what, I have left and am leaving in this world; this is the base of all of my imagination. 被自己的痕迹引导，由痕迹触发想象。
What do you wish to inspire in others? 您希望您的作品对他人有什么样的启发吗？
To let others grasp even the tiniest hint of human breaths is all I can hope to ask from my audience. 别人能从我的作品里，感受到一种气息（或气质），目的就达到了。
Written by Cathy Davies
Chinese Translation by Ellie
Reference Link: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/UhJRzkYR87ZUIgJXz1F0yg