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Yuehan Pan

MA work

How can one be within and without tradition at the same time? Faces are coming towards me. Not just faces but invariably female faces. There is no reason for this. It just occurs. Sometimes it might feel like these faces are written but at other moments they are recorded as if a trace event. Maybe it is in the in between of this, neither writing or trace. A face ready to sink back into its origin in nothingness. After all the face might be that thin slice of appearance which amplifies the fragility of becoming. Something that is there always ready to dissolve back into the ground in which there is no appearance. This is what the face is: the confirmation of the fragility of becoming. For this reason there is both tenderness and indifference in these portraits.

Faces are coming towards me but I am on the other side of this. I start to think that the mediate the difference between near and far. After all the face is a form of close up and yet within this there is an indication of what is most remote. I am not always certain of what comes first: near or far? Faces are not simply facts of life but ciphers of a mystery we have not yet come to grasp. I think that is why they are painted again and again because that are close to being impossible once they are conceived as object of attention. We might feel we are obsessed by identity given to us with this semblance of the faces but then we might equally start to access a quite bitter taste of the remote or dissolution of identity.

Everything is a blur for me as if out of focus. My eyes pass over things and even pass through. Nothing is fixed so figure within ground starts to come apart as the optical attention struggles to cope with this. To paint is to be engaged with this experience. Traditional Chinese paintings looks into the abstract genesis not on things but the edge of there disappearance into non appearance. Maybe this in part explains why painters might also be monks. I paint with this tradition in mind but am outside of it as well. It is a matter of what to discover and what to lose. I need the simple virtue of honesty and yet I doubt that there is a simple way of attaining this capacity. Instead I go back to a face and then another face only to discover that they are silent. Faded faces residing in silence.


  • MA Degree


    School of Humanities


    MA Painting, 2016

  • Degrees

  • BA Chinese Painting, Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China