Carving out a name for herself

Updated: Feb 28, 2022 By Xu Haoyu China Daily Print
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Chen Yan considers the film as a relatively uncontrollable medium.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Chen thinks that carving on films is more restrained than painting on canvas.

The two dimensions of the canvas have given rise to a major discussion for centuries, which is how to reflect three-dimensional space and depth on a two-dimensional surface. In the case of film, however, not only is it two-dimensional, the element of color is stripped away as well, so the image is thus more abstract and more uncertain.

"The creation does not attempt to imitate nature, but to express a quality, and the experience living in the world," Chen says.

Chen adds that the film can also be colored of course, by changing its backlighting and so on, and she's going to aim for a more multidimensional presentation.

The works exhibited were created by Chen from the tail of 2020 to the fall of 2021.

Feilai Fu, which captures the view she saw on her way driving from home to the studio, was the first series that came out.

Chen spent over a month making hundreds of sketches in the mountains and forests in Feilai Peak in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.

She etched the rough shape of old trees and vines, the gnarled rocks and overlying peaks of Feilai, onto silver films with iron nails and bars.

Another highlight of the exhibition is a series of works named One Day of Su Shi, which depicts Su's footprints covering West Lake and mountains around.

Su, the famous Chinese litterateur and poet who lived from 1037 to 1101, held a variety of government positions from 1060 to 1080, and he was again exiled to Hangzhou on March 2 in the fifth year of the Yuan You period (1090).

His influence remains even till today. One of the most famous dishes in Hangzhou, braised Dongpo pork, is named after his courtesy name; as well as a pedestrian causeway, called Sudi, meaning Su causeway.

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