Last December, Rome hosted the “Biennale MArteLive”, an event dedicated to emerging art. In the two evenings of the main event “MArteLive Lo Spettacolo Totale”, the finalists of the 16 categories in competition, “told” their art by making their own works in front of the public. Jingge Dong, a painter of Chinese descent, in Italy to continue his artistic career, is the winner of the paintig section. In the interview that follows, Dong spoke of is paintings, delicate and restless at the same time, outcome of a search for a subtle balance between light and darkness, order and chaos, which often accompanies human existence.
On what elements is you artistic research based?
My research is based on elements such as points, lines, surfaces, but in the last year, my artistic path has been influenced in particular way by two other elements: the night, with its artificial lights, and chaos. Throughout this year, in fact, I spend almost every day in the laboratory of the Academy and in the evening, returning home, I observed the many dots of artificial lights, feeling a great emotion and a strong aestetich sensation. The panorama, generated by these lights, belongs only to the night and is that inorganic panorama, which I call “white night”. In my work, I’m looking for the strength and aesthetic sensation that the “white night” transmits to us.
The reflection on chaos, however, comes from a coincidence. One day, in the Academy’s laboratory, there was a sudden blackout, and in that moment I saw a chaotic scene: the artistic materials in the dark, the people, the structure of things, the lines, the dots of light of the cell phone and flashes of natural light. It was a fantastic vision, where all things, together, went to build a very powerful image that, slowly, I tried to apply to scenes of everyday life.
Remaining on the theme of chaos, the work with which you participated in the “Biennale MArteLive”, is an oil painting, entitled “The landscape of chaos #2”. What meaning, therefore, does the concept of chaos in your art assume?
Even if chaos has always had a meaning that is not too positive, I discovered something beautiful in it, and with my work I would like to continue to deepen its perception. In art there are black and white, light and dark, what is heavy and what is light. What I would like to say and prove with my art, is that beauty often comes from a contrast like that between order and disorder, between order and chaos. In the representation of the landscape there is precisely the search for this relationship between order and disorder, a research that aims to find the beauty and power of this relationship. To make a parallel with my life, I’m now 29 years old, it’s an anxious age becouse I think of many things: work, marriage, the degree thesis, the artistic path and its continuation, and so on. All this stresses me, making me very agitatd, I would like to think only of art, but I can’t. It’s a conflict between the ideal and the real life, so, every day many things mix in my mind, just like chaos. I’m tired but, as I said, beauty arises from conflict and I hope to find something beauthiful in this chaos, and maybe, in many years, I will realize that what now seems to me such a hard and painful moment, in reality is a very lively and full period.
Returning to the light, how important is this element in your work?
Artificial light is a symbol of civilization, where there are people there is light. The night scene of the “White night”, that spectacle that belongs only to the night, is something that gives you strength even in the hard moments of life, pushing you to push forward. In it the power of human being is expressed. In my series of caos, however, light has another meaning, it’s a symbol of hope and order. In my works, light balances the chaotic scene and represented order. In my painting there is always a clear component, without which the wole work could’t “breath”. Wanting to make another parallel with the reality of my life, it makes me think that, even if I find myself in a very chaotic period, thetre is always a solution, as there is always hope that I can get by, overcoming problems. After all, it’s a bit as if there were someone telling me not to be afraid because I’m not alone.
What sense do you attribute to the night, which often characterizes the atmospheres of your paintings?
The night is like chaos and the chaotic darkness is scary. I remeber that as a child I often slept with the TV turned on to prevent my room from becoming completely black. The darkness led me to think of death, and this was very bad, but luckily there is light. Moreover, the night makes me reflect on the fact that, in the absence of light, we can’t see the colors that characterize things. In the absence of light, what color does an apple have? I don’t think that night can give us an answer on this, but it can make us reflect. In my opinion, the night can show us the essential aspect of things, what during the day remains hidden from our eyes. I therefore believe that the night is an atmosphere or an ambience in which the real is revelated.
The soft and dusty tones of these works may refer to a type of Italian paiting of the twentieth century, but looking beyond Italy too, which artists do you think have a greater influence on your work?
I was very influenced by the shades and the atmosphere of Morandi, the touch and brushstroke of his work are very fascinating, as well as the subtle shades of the colors. In addiction, I recently watch the works often through the website and painting album by Jon Cattapan and Luc Tymans.
After education in Shanghai, you are now continuing your studies in Venice. What impact did your encounter whit a city of such a particular landscape have on your art?
It’s a very interesting experience. In a very modern city like Shanghai, I was studing classical art and Western photography, now studying, in a historical city, modern and contemporary art. I must admit that Venice is a beautiful city, where I’m very happy to live and study. As for my work, I have been influenced more by the artistic atmosphere than by the landscape. The Art Biennial, the La Fenice Theater, the Carnival, the Accademia’s Gallery and many Reinaissance works of art. I especially feel that I have to thank the painting atelier of The Academy of Fine Arts in Venice, the professors Carlo di Raco and Martino Scavezzon, who showed me a right artistic direction, which I like so much. I lerned a lot from my classmates, with them I understood that, to improve, we must be more diligent and focused. So, with a right direction and a sincere attitude, always remembering to communicate with others, I think we can succeed.
How would you define the “Biennale MArteLive” experience?
This was the first time I attended the “MArteLive Biennial”, and to tell the truth I really enjoyed this kind of artistic activity. It was more a live than an exibition in the strict sense, it’s a bit like a party where the artists of each section can communicate with each other, admiring the works of others. It was the first time that I was painting in front of an audience and outside the laboratory. Initially I was a bit nervous, but then I met many friends and artists from the other sections as well. It’s truly an unforgettable experience, while painting, listening to music, discussing and admiring the spectacle of other astists. I attended only one night, it would be wonderful if you could participate in all the evenings.
Are you currently working on some new progect right now?
Yes, lately I’m experimenting with various techniques, materials and textures, to understand how to enrich the scene and the rhythm of the paintings. At the same time, I also work on new theme, trying to represent the ancient Chinese myth, combining Western and Eastern styles.
Jingge Dong, Il paesaggio del caos#2, 170cm x 190cm, olio ed acrilico su tela, 2017 Courtesy Jingge Dong
Jingge Dong, La notte bianca#1, 180cm x 208cm, olio su tela, 2017 Courtesy Jingge Dong
Jingge Dong, Il paesaggio del caos#4, 140cm x 170cm, olio ed acrilico su tela, 2017 Courtesy Jingge Dong
Jingge Dong, La notte bianca#4#5, 170cm x 280cm, olio ed acrilico su tela, 2017 Courtesy Jingge Dong
Jingge Dong, Il paesaggio del caos#5, 140cm x 170cm,olio ed acrilico su tela, 2017 Courtesy Jingge Dong
Jingge Dong, La notte bianca#2, 185cm x 210cm, olio ed acrilico su tela, 2017 Courtesy Jingge Dong
Jingge Dong, Il paesaggio del caos#3, 140cm x 170cm, olio ed acrilico su tela, 2017 Courtesy Jingge Dong