A Kind of Reality

Publish Date: 

Curador : Tian Kai

Rona Hu’s art work has been to portrait the contemporary subjects and highlights a kind of reality in surrealist fashion. In her paintings, she blends the past and present, reality and illusion together seamlessly, and employs her superb skill of color expression to magnify such conflicts.

In her series “China Melody” around 2008, Rona persisted on using symbolism, as illustrated in “Terra Cotta Warrior Aria! No.4”, Terra Cotta Warriors as the symbols of the past, with masks on and confronted with a reality of polluted and crowded city of today, looks every bit of puzzled and confused. In “Tiananmen Fantastique No.2”, politics is clearly implied by the setting. Neatly aligned Tai Ji performers in the military parade style seem to suggest vast contrast between the individuals and the powerful. Here the artist perfected her art of symbolism by using a few paint brushes as the “final finishing touch” to the painting to make fun of and show defiant of the powerful. It has the effect of the tail wagging the dog in an intended meaning.

In her recent work “The Underprivileged”, Rona has invested a great deal of her passion in depicting migrant workers who are sitting in the bottom rung of China’s social hierarchy. She overlays the portrait of an unknown migrant worker with the image of dice in “Portrait of the Underprivileged No.6”. It seems to communicate that migrant workers are ignorant of the fact that they are the victims of the games played among various forces. In the series of “Underprivileged”, some portraits are like walls that are crumbling and peeling with looming smiles. They are rather uncomfortable to stare at. In “The Last Watermelon Feast”, the artist cleverly borrows a well-known “masterpiece” of Chinese contemporary art, and replaces the elegant middle class figures in the original work with migrant workers gobbling watermelons. Such a scene of migrant workers is not uncommon in rural and urban China. The artist seems to raise an intriguing question through her creation: besides the basic needs for survival, do the migrant workers have any relevance to the human civilization and religious belief? The portraits of migrant workers convey a powerful sense of humanitarianism. It is the ultimate illustration of humanity by the artist.

The series of “Uninhibited” is about left-behind children of migrant workers. This series is a nice break from the artist’s more serious themes of other series. Care free and cheerful, the children in the painting are longing for uninhibited life without worrying about conflicts and discrimination. This may seem like a Utopian society, but it may be the artist’s ideal world for the future.

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