登錄 | 登記 | 搜尋
English / 中文


Jia Juanli

Araki Nobuyoshi
Au Hoi Lam
Cai Guoqiang
Cao Hui
Christian Schoeler
Fan Mingzheng
Fang Lijun
Feng Zhengjie
Han Jinpeng
Huang Jia
Ji Dachun
Jia Juanli
Jia Pingxi
Jiang Huajun
Justin Cooper
Kang Haitao
Klavdij Sluban
Li Hongjun
Liang Quan
Lui Chun Kwong
Luo Quanmu
Marc Riboud
Ng Kwun Lung Tony
Parry Ling Chin Tang
Qu Guangci
Roger Ballen
Shen Liang
Sheng Shanshan
Song Chen
Song Kun
Sui Jianguo
Tan Jun
Tan Ping
Tian Tian
Tsang Chui Mei
Vivian Poon
Wang Chuan
Wei Qingji
Wei Yan
Wu Di
Wu Haizhou
Xia Xiaowan
Xiong Yu
Yan Shanchun
Yin Zhaoyang
Yu Aijun
Zach Gold

Jia Juanli Interview: The Stickness of the Painting


Location: At the home of Jia Juan Li’s friend, Beijing

Time: The evening of 15 January 2011


Li Yifei (Li)  Jia Juanli (Jia)


Li: You have been living and working abroad for so many years, why your painting

style and theme has been the same?


Jia: I was invited to the Academy of Fine Arts in Provence, France by French government

as the visiting artist, where I was the only artist who came from the East. The president

was very friendly to me, he provided me a studio of 80 square meters, with windows

looking into a very beautiful garden. In addition to the study of painting, I had to go to

learn French at French College of Liberal Arts. I had no friends when I first arrived in France,

additionally; I had to study very hard. Even worse, the French contemporary art made me feel

uneasy. The Academy of Fine Arts was a school of avant-garde art, no one there used brushes

and easels, students ‘ works there were essentially installment art and performance art. While
I continued my easel painting, the other students in the art college were using new materials

and multimedia, such as installation, performance etc. much ex expressive my easel painting.

In addition, the language barrier increased my difficulty of studying art. But my easel painting

became an alternative style of the avant-grande trend in the Academy of Fine Arts there,

which led to my isolation in art and loneliness. I will not change for the sake of change I will

not distort my real feeling only for the tension in my painting. My brush is an extension of

my soul; my beating heart is that of an Asian woman.


Li: How did you survive in Paris? Could you please talk about your early years there?


Jia: Paris is a great stage of the world with the most updated information of art;

meanwhile, it has the all-embracing character. As an artist, Paris is the water and I am

fish swimming in the water. Thus,  I moved away from Provence, the hometown of

Cezanne, the quiet city with many beautiful memories of mine, went to Paris alone. I knew

nobody and had no friends there;  I could not turn to anyone for help. I lived in a strange

environment of the mixture of coldness and charm. In order to survive, I had to sell many

good paintings of mine at very low prices. I began to have solo exhibitions in various

cities in France in 1998. The reasons were simple, I had to survive and I wanted French

galleries to know me and to accept me. I remembered, there were only four visitors

at my first exhibition in Paris, and they were all my friends.


Li: The new contemporary art around you did not have an impact on you?


Jia: Yes, of course it did, and it influenced me greatly. However, not only it failed to change

the direction of my exploration in art, on the contrary, it strengthened my belief of my

own painting style. This was not a guess facing the unknown; it was my own choice

after I had fully understood contemporary art, this was a decision. Different from

Provence, Paris is a city where modern art and classical art co-exist. Now I think

Paris is the outstating capital of art in the world, it is a city tolerates all in art,

and it is an international stage of art.


We could see new works of art almost every day, modern art, classical art, and

contemporary art cannot replace each other. I would go to see all kinds of art

exhibitions after I took a break from working in my studio, trying to be inspired by

that art, and to adjust my concept of painting by absorbing them. I have been to many

countries, I never refuse those newest and most contemporary methods of expression.


Li: You always focus on this kind of subject, was it because some sort of complex in

your heart?


Jia: I had a lot to do with my mother’s family background. My grandfather was a big

collector; he would change the hanging paintings and the display of art items at home

according to the season. I often listened to my mother’s stories about our family, and

those relatives. Those women portraits I painted were actually their images in my mind.

Later, I painted gardens which were related to the novels I read, I enjoy this kind of fantasy,

so I paint them. Floating on the clouds, the women in the garden were not worldly ladies.

Later on when I was in Beijing, I lived close to Forbidden City, so gardens I often went

there. I liked to see plant, furnishings, objects of which were familiar to me that I was

able to detect slight changes there in the Forbidden City. At that time I could not afford

to buy a camera; I had to reply on sketches. I especially liked the early morning or

raining days and snowing days, I would like to go alone to enjoy Forbidden City in

quietness. Wandering among those ancient buildings, it made me think of what my mother

told me, the ponds and tall screens, so my fantasy and reality mixed together. The I began

to paint the courtyards in the palace. The place I lived was very small, was a rectangle room

two meter long, so I had to paint small paintings. Living abroad, I missed more and more

my Chinese cultural background; I felt it was great. Looking back, the people who

influenced me the most was my mother.


Li: There were shades of Chagall in your early works. How did you change your style to

find your own direction in art?


Jia: Yes, one can see Chagall’s influence in my thesis painting. Then I found that it was the

dream of the western people. The The feel of the Western people was beautiful and

expressive, but beauty of the eastern people was connotative and subtle. I like to read

during my childhood, I liked the fairy tales of both China and western countries. Painterly

images appeared in my heart and they stimulated me to catch them with my oil

painting brush, whenever I had read those alive stories. Fortunately, I saw the works of

Chagall. This kind of light, loose, free, quiet, with a dreamy state of mind at the time the

world, especially close to my feelings, I began to dream like the Chagall also brought

freedom to his own painting. But soon, I found that the Chagall dream was his own

dream, the dream of the West,and I should have my own dreams, the dreams with

oriented colors. At that time, I loved the books of Su Tong, Jia Pinwa, Mark Twain,

Milan Kundera, Marquez, and other writers, I feel I should be bold to depict my inner

dreams. Therefore I started to work on “my dream garden” and “portrait” series. I began

to really enter into my own state of mind.


Li: In addition to painting, you still have a lot of work on paper or silk.


Jia: I really like traditional Chinese paintings, especially the Song Dynasty paintings.

I got in touch with many original works when I was at the Central Academy of Fine

Arts. I had to rush to see the Song paintings whenever the Museum of Forbidden City

exhibited those treasures. I always read them slowly, and that process made me

very excited. Now I wanted to catch the sense of oriental silk and flavor. Perhaps

this was because my father and my grandfather were in business of silk. I also

travelled on the Silk Road a few times because they had a sense of holiness, so I wanted

to fuse the spirit of the emptiness of the East and soul of Silk Road. I have sought the sense

of refinement, softness, and smooth.

Li: Recently, your works were mostly in gray tone, was that the result of your

changed spirituality?


Jia: The grayish tonality is one of my favourite colors, because it is mysterious, solemn

and subtitle. A single world of “gray” cannot define thousands and thousands different

grays. I painted many Buddha images in gray tone as early as in 1993. But I thought

they were not what I wanted. Later in Paris, what I absorbed was the essence of the

western cultural. As an artist with my root in China, the experience in Paris made me

miss the profound Chinese traditional culture. Chinese ink had rich variations in

tonality, Chinese poems seemed like flowing water and flouting clouds and a red seal

on the painting came from classical culture of China. I have to approach Chinese

traditional art with my heart, not just for the likeness of its format. I began to

reorganize my visual language in oil painting, I tried to make the subtle variation of

black, white and gray sing in my painting, I explored the sense of silk and the limit of

black, white and gray. Meanwhile, I tried to have a little bit of red color. Maybe this little

bit of red was the mark that broke the cold “gray” color, just like a sudden flash would

appeared in one’s lonely life.



Jia Juanli – a Painter of Mild Feminism

Xu Gan

Jia Juanli stated, “A lot of people asked me the same question why there’re no men

in my painting. My reply to that is because I am more acquainted with women, “ The

quotation above reminds me of some lines suggested by Mexican female painter. Frida

Kahlo, “I painted myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I

know best.”


Why does Jia Juanli paint women only? Among famous modern Chinese artists,

compared with the overall majority of make artist, their female counterparts stand

for the minority. This is a realistic picture of Chinese patriarchal society.


Jia Juanli’s mild feminist paintings show first the indirectnes and the subtlety of

representation. She is conscious enough to exclude the male as her subject matters

or objects, and focuses on the female instead, and that is her own peaceful demonstration

against the patriarchal society. From appearance, Jia Juanli’s peaceful demonstration

looks like a compromise, because what the Belgian feminist Luce Irigaray pointed out,

“As the female, the society would not want to hear their scream, it wants them to


remain silent to whatever they experienced. Their feelings, therefore, have been

transformed into the spiritual and character syndromes, such as taciturnity.

“Nevertheless, Jia Juanli’s mild feminist representation just dwell in such taciturnity.


Even though Ji Juanli only paint women, nudes seldom appear in her paintings. No

matter the princesses or ladies they’re all dressed in long skirts which even cover

their insteps. The female nudes in the Western fine art have always been the symbol

of the ruling status in the patriarchal society. One of the famous modern feminist

painters, Judy Chicago thinks that if a female artist try to do painting and deal

paintings as how male artist do, if she accepts the rules which are controlled and

served for the make, her paintings will never be comprehended correctly.


Jia Juanli knows women well, and she paints women. She knows herself best that’s she

paints herself, paints her transformed ego. Jia Juanli’s touching empathy is first benefited

from her mother’s dining table stories, the past legends of the great family, and then from

the character’s experiences written in the novels.

Jia Juanli’s art practice can be summed up by one of Luce Irigaray’s quotes, “ By

destroying the painting rules of male society, women can restart to find themselves

and to authenticate their female identity, thus they can find their painting language,

and grow up on the bae of a true ego.”