Attachment · Whispers 3

by Richard MC Chang (Translation by Timothy Chang)

Bright blooming flowers cover the foreground of Attachment · Whispers 3. Two young women in plain white clothing stand behind the flowers, holding hands in a close embrace. In examining the relation between the foreground flowers and the sitters, the picture plane appears skewed. The flowers seem superimposed onto the composition, creating a sense of ambiguity that also relate to the nature and relationship of the two young women.

Further expanding the metaphor, flowers in bloom allude to the women’s youth and beauty. However, the painting’s tone takes a turn upon reading the women’s faces. Their silence and downward gaze suggest a melancholy or fear that their embrace may come to an abrupt end. The artist Guo Kai intentionally divided the composition into two mismatched canvases, thus splitting the sitters’ torsos in half. It is precisely the visible division that signify the delicate nature of the two women’s embrace.  

Guo Kai, Attachment · Whispers 3, 2022, Tempera and Oil on Canvas, 100 x 60 cm © Guo Kai

Relatred Journals

Faraway Breeze

Essay
“I believe a painting should be like a poem, a song, or a beautiful prose. That is why painting a painting should be like writing a poem, singing a song, or writing a piece of prose.” – Fu Baoshi.
The first impression given by Guo Kai’s paintings is like that of a poem, a song, or a beautiful piece of prose. Poetry in painting has always been an integral part of classical Chinese painting, and Guo Kai’s paintings are particularly poetic. Plain and unadorned titles, such as Spring Stream, Winter Water, Reflection of the Bridge, or Quiet Pavilion, paired with his paintings become pieces of silent poetry.
Guo Kai examines tempera paint, Hefei, Anhui, 2018. Photo: T. Chang