Occasionally I stumble across an artist who manages to strip all the complexity from what is often a torturous endeavour, and accomplish what I think of as ‘getting it’. To do one thing to the fullest of its potential is a radically different thing to having just one idea. Net-art and new media art especially – in no small part because funding bodies and media attention always circulate around whatever appears to harbour the next big thing – is rife with people who have had just one idea. Often ironic, and always caving in under closer examination, to me this kind of work is not so much art as a gimmick, or tricks.
Artists who do just one thing and get it right, like the Jake and Dinos Chapman to me are instantly recognisable. It’s not a question of doing something new or (code word for boring art administration death of interestingness) innovative, rather, they’ve displayed their monomania for all the world to see, and of that something beautiful comes.
I have no idea whether 潘鉞 Pan Yue would be the former or the latter, but for a moment, the photographic installations of famous European paintings recreated with Beijing Opera performers manages to encapsulate a lot of what I’ve been playing with for the last two years. The article 潘鉞 —— 他的作品之”名画系列” is in Chinese, and I found it at Letters from China, another blog that is on my daily blog feed.