Picking Up All the Winter Branches is the first exhibition in Taiwan by Qiu Xiaofei and Song Kun. There are a number of reasons that we make this exhibition as a joint one: the two artists both graduated from the Dept. of Oil Painting in the Central Academy of Fine Art, China; they were classmates; they painted in the same studio in the Academy; they were co-founders of the N12 Group, held exhibitions together, and received much attention before the other young artists in the contemporary category. The paintings by both artists have been purchased by highly regarded art collection institutions or exhibited in well respected galleries. Compared to other artists of the same generation, their works appear calm and cold. If the other artists in the same period are revealing a sense of loneliness or eruptive force through a semblance of warmth and softness, the paintings by Xiaofei and Song Kun look more like revealing the artists’ longings for warmth through the calm, or even icy colours. This contrast of warmth and coldness formed the charming rhythms in their paintings. Xiaofei’s works are usually sensible and grand, with a sense of broad openness, through which, however, as if he is searching for the shadow of his own soul. Song Kun’s works are usually meticulous, and possess a more subtle nimbleness unrivaled by male artists, with the true meaning of life gleaming from a captured point of time. For Xiaofei, this is a very original exhibition – after years of endeavour on installation works, the return to the paintings comes with no resplendent lightings nor the utilization of space, but the mere paintings themselves. For Song Kun, these works reflect the ups-and-downs in life; or more appropriately, they are themselves the records of the path of time.
(The crow) picked all the winter branches yet none suitable to rest on, silently turned to the cold, lonely sand dune. (NB: the choice of the crow is a metaphor of the political attitude of the poet, that he refused to go against his faith to follow the tide, as the result, he was demoted, just like the crow flew to rest on the cold, lonely sand dune.) This line of poem reflects the belief and ambition, persistence and loneliness of Su Dongpo, a great poet and a politician in Chinese history. It is also the philosophical empathy echoed by Xiaofei and Songkun, and the meaning of life learned by the two.
Perhaps, this exhibition is about feeling the warmth.