Last update二, 13 二 2018 10pm


Pedigree of Life--About Jiny Lan’s epic painting

Jiny Lan considers herself a painter, a conceptual artist and an actionist. She does not only display her painting very dynamically but also positions herself as an artist into the centre of her video work. Lan entitles one of her latest films “Past Future Continues”, here she casts her works of art as a moving choreography. The experimental and innovative character of the video reveals much of her artistic thinking, which centers around the exchangeable relationships between all creatures and things.

Jiny Lan grew up in the north of China, in a cold region close to the North Korean border. It may result from the wintriness, from the nearness of the border, from the young days in a China even before its political opening and also from her engagement in the Chinese pro-democratic movement of the outstanding year 1989, that her works are affected by an internal force and movement comprising her motifs as well as her scenography. Nothing, it seems, remains at rest, everything is drawn into a swirl of elementary powers or catapulted out of it. Her portrayals of humans are always parts of a scenical context, occasionally acting, but often enough also simply at the mercy of someone else, acting reactively. Using motifs manifoldly, reworking them, is important for her. They are put into a collage and painted over. In the end the viewers of her artwork cannot distinguish between photography, print and painted sections. Images and painting are inextricably merged. So to say, the viewer is dragged into this gigantic
stream of forces and vehemently stirred up. Works such as “Vorwärtsbewegung”(2013), “Within ten seconds”, “Passive freedom”(2016) or “Prophezeiung”(2014) indicate this stream of times and floods, this rousing elementary balance of power, which man can hardly withstand.


In a private conversation, Roman Signer said that he considers Jiny Lan’s painting a genuine and independent contribution to Chinese art. I understand what he means.
I met Jiny Lan on my first trip to China in a huge KLM plane. We happened to be sitting side by side. And we both wanted to attend the 9. Biennale in Shanghai. She was invited as an artist to the Biennale, I as a curator. I would accompany the project of Roman Signer. Since Jiny's art project was to take place two months later, she was able to help with Roman’s work. Thus began a friendly relationship, which has stabilized after the journey.
Later, she saved my life when I was lost in the Japanese jungle. She had my emergency calls translated. Finally, as I was about to give up, a helicopter came and picked me up off a cliff.
We exchange our thoughts very often. She sends me pictures she has painted fresh, I give her comments. She tells me the secret symbols that she has built into the pictures. You have to know their entire story to decipher the mystery. For example, she often paints falling women, since the leap from a wall was a way to freedom for her. This is a story she does not want to tell everyone.
Jiny's painting is very reminiscent of dreams. She says her life is a dream. When she is in Germany, she dreams of China. When she is in China, she dreams of Germany. The dreams come together in her paintings. The cultures overlap. Dramatically, cultural intersections tower on one another, as in architectural fantasies by Piranesi. What is created is fantastic. There are crossings from East and West. These are miraculous worlds that fascinate - and which at any time seem to be threatened by collapse. Their images never look rigid, they are always in motion. The drama is happening now. Menace and seduction are kept exactly in balance. And one image evolves from the other. Like a chain. Here, too, there is no standstill, no pause. It goes on and on.
In Jiny's art, there are two branches. One is performative and plays out in a group called "Bald Girls". To the group also belongs Xiao Lu, who became famous in the late 1980s for shooting a gun at her very first work during the very first exhibition of contemporary art in the Chinese National Museum in Beijing. The exhibition was immediately closed. If Xiao Lu's father had not been rector of the Hangzhou Art Academy, which is the most important of all China, Xiao Lu would not have dived so quickly.

Through Jiny´s talking, I knew she was part of the Tiananmen Square activities during the 1989 demonstrations. She said that the students had been given warm clothes and food. That the relief organizations had done very good work.The only thing missing was shoes. Her feet were so moist and she had so much pain at her feet that she had to leave the place after two weeks. Because she had not taken off the shoes for so long, the skin began to peel off her feet. So she still has problems with her feet today.  A few days after she had left the square, the tanks came.

"Bald Girls" make feminist action. Jiny also works outside the group performatively, for example together with Fluxus artist Ben Patterson. Jiny was in a yellow full body suit, Ben Patterson in a black full body suit. They wrote racist insults against each other with black or yellow color, until both suits are equally black-yellow.


刀削一样的脸庞,严重偏离了黄色人种特征的青白脸色,蓬松得几近蓬乱的头发似乎还有些卷曲,左手握着和画面尺寸不相配的巨大画笔, 动作夸张地在画布上画一颗白菜。一只白菜叶子正在腐烂,他嘻皮笑脸地回头冲着正在准备指点他的老师说:正在腐烂的白菜比新鲜的白菜更能表现生命的存在……


The poetic and provoking art world of Jiny Lan

I met Jiny Lan first on a voyage to Dunhuang in China, when we were both invited to the opening of the first International Art Expo on the Silk Road together with other artists.

On our first trip to the exposition halls an unignorable figure popped up in front of me: almost  shaven-headed, dressed in a queer cap, strange shorts, boots, and an upended pink shopping bag, which had been converted into a blouse. She emanated great amiability, stretched out her hand saying she was Jiny Lan.

I took a look at the pictures of the exhibition and was first attracted by one that showed a big hand hovering above a landscape not otherwise specified. Was the hand on the run or did it dominate the events below? Perhaps it would give us a warning?  It was a puzzling, appealing picture which could not easily be interpreted.

It was Jiny Lan’s work. For me this picture was one of the most exciting ones in the exhibition I told her and so we became acquainted to each other.


在获知列侬(John Lennon,1940—1980)死于非命后,我开始关注相关报道。针对枪杀列侬的歌迷,美国外星生命研究专家卢克曼(Michael C. Luckman)公开断言,凶手被外星人操纵。卢克曼长期研究外星人与飞碟UFO,发表过至少两本专著,探讨外星人与摇滚乐、摇滚明星以及好莱坞的关联。凶手是否沦为外星人谋杀列侬的工具,我不能证伪,也不能证实,暂且姑妄听之。

能证实的是列侬与华裔情人庞凤仪(May Pang)都公开表示见过飞碟。在Youtube上可以看到相关报道“John Lennon UFO Encounter New York 1974”。1974年8月23日夜,他俩在纽约的阳台上目睹飞碟。列侬在这之后创作的两首歌“摆脱蓝调”(Out of the Blue)和“没人告诉我”(Nobody told me)中都提到飞碟。列侬在第一首歌中,把所爱之人比喻为来去无踪的飞碟;在第二首歌中,则明确表示纽约上空有飞碟。