Shifting Perspective

This large 5-panel painting Shifting Perspectives and the Body (240 x 900 cm) forms the climax of Chinese Australian artist Fan Dongwang's work, by mixing all the different images from various visual sources using shifting perspectives. It is a replication of the bodies full of social and cultural inscriptions and ambivalence. Many aspects of his study are mixed up in this large painting including the classic Chinese painting Night Entertainment of Han Xizai, Botticelli's Madonna Enthroned with St Peter the Baptist and St John the Evangelist "Bardi Madonna", and Fan's own work Descendant and Human Conflicts. All of these ambiguous images have nevertheless achieved a visual solution: a synthesis of cultural differences created by a new system of shifting perspectives. The artist uses shifting perspectives as method (sculptural painting) to analyse different art styles while using shifting perspectives as metaphors to convey different cultural aspects. The environment (or the association of the forms) determines the concept of the object. The painting shows a series of mannerisms and conventions of shifting perspectives that serve in a way to impose a hidden order upon surface chaos to achieve a visual poetic. 

All paintings are acrylic on canvas

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“It means that our influences are mixed - people do not hail from one history, one culture or one background but from a melting pot of multiple cultures. There are starling differences in our thoughts and ways of doing things, but also more commonality than we think we have. The point of view I want to express is multiple, is shifting and jumping and changing from one view towards another, sometimes from several different points of view all at once. So it’s not just one way of doing things but multiple ways of doing things. With this understood, we can reduce confrontation and conflict.” 

Fan Dongwang

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After Botticelli #1, 184 x 174 cm

Fan Dongwang. The paintings address the issue of shifting gender perspective. Botticelli’s painting of Pallas and the Centaur shows a triumphant woman’s image capturing a male half animal, half human being. This connotation has been played out in this serial painting to explore the fluid gender specification of the body. The work indicates that today’s gender perspective is shifting: all gender differences are becoming mixed and need careful reconsideration and reconstruction.