Un barbare en Chine

On the way back from Japan, I could not but stop by in Shanghai again – to get more of it, to enjoy it bit more I did in 2011, not primarly aiming to understand it ( I think there is nothing one can understand about modern China and not be quiet -well let’s say- surprised by it ) but just to experience the city I find an example of all the exotic colonial past stuff and Extreme-Orient dream stuff and a Charm of Asia stuff mixed together. I wanted to get into it deeply because Shanghai with her certain bipolarity has moved me before and I felt a lack of being moved by something recently. And then I got this idea of going further. I wanted to be moved by something even stronglier than Shanghai so I have planned this discovery trip to Beijing. So I did. Not becauce Chinese people would interest me nor of any particular interest in knowing what China Life may look like – for I do barely care about people I do not know-  just to get the Chineseness feel – the historical one quiet strange in proportion and exotic in forms for us Westerners –  this image of China, more important for me than real China itself. I got it in Beijing. City I did not like at all but parts of which inspired me so deeply and satified perfectly my hunger for brand new and from-old-comming-new things. It is quiet a superficial romantic way of looking at things of past not having any connection with what happens today I was looking for and I got all what I asked for.  Here is one picture:

Forbidden City
Forbidden City

I loved Forbidden city. It is not pretty and not deep at all, it is just like Versailles – a thing being built to impress and to show to people what they would never be like only to make a difference between the souvereign and the earth-bred. What a poor state is this great, impressive and magnificent monument in and how terribly bad treated. I loved simplicity of this immense building one looking like other but diverse in interiors, and it’s colours are just as you dream of China from childrens book would seem in real.

Chinese ceiling
Chinese ceiling

Royal blue and green combination of colours on painted ceilings all ower the city was a revelation to me. Combined with goldish yellow or white and black or red lines – what a visual success! I admire the bravery of craftsmen who invented this – they must have only been born Chinese. So ‘chinoiserie’ like! Perfect! That gave me desire to turn back to this painting I diplayed in Kurashiki:

Michal Korman: Your heart is empty, oil on canvas 60x50 cm Paris 2011
Michal Korman: Your heart is empty, oil on canvas 60×50 cm Paris 2011

– and to work on something more ‘Chinese-esque’ and ornamental – like this:

Bat carvings
Bat carvings in Jingshan Gongyuan

After this Beijing experience – because modern morose Beijing has nothing to do with casual and chic Shanghai I’m looking forward to read Henri Michaux’s ‘Un Barbare en Chine’ just not to move fin life with impression of my Beijing stay as of one’s illuminated among barbarians. And next time do go even more further in my search in Xi’an or Nanjing or somewhere else within China.



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