Student Work

  • Fine Arts (BFA)

    Xinchen Du

    Audience, Performer, and Stage (Chinese Shadow Play)

    In examining the Western art movement, Constructivism, and Italian Futurism, I recognize elements that can be seen as originating from the East, although this is not commonly acknowledged in Western art history. In my artistic practice and thesis work, I aim to expose the elements of Western painting which derive from and contend with Eastern culture. I paint with oil paints on canvas and wood board, combining geometric abstraction, Cubism, and Futurism and their use of color. The intention is to reimagine the experience of watching Chinese shadow plays from different perspectives. Chinese shadow puppetry is one of the oldest and most representative kinds of Eastern art performances. Even though some Western viewers may not be familiar with the traditional stories or characters of shadow puppetry, it has characteristics that anyone in the world can understand. I approach the figures using abstract geometrical and Cubist composition, which has qualities and characteristics similar to those of shadow puppets: flatness, transparency, and complete silhouettes. The viewer's experience of either watching the performance or interacting with the paintings takes over my attention for the project. What is the relationship between the audience, the object that is used for the play, and the performers? How is time reflected on the stage, behind the stage, and in the audience? I want people to take on different roles, both as performers and viewers, when they stand in front of my works. Everyone is invited to enjoy the show.