The Mental Museum

Yan Pei Ming and Francis Bacon

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Yan Pei Ming is a Chinese contemporary artist born in 1960. He is most famous for his epic-sized portraits of Mao Zedong, a common icon in Chinese contemporary art. His portraits use a loose expressive brush. In comparison with his contemporaries coming from communist China, it is surprising his work takes on such individuality. Often subjects in contemporary Chinese art are represented by the masses as a single unit that share features, expressions, motions, ideologies… Here Ming accentuates the individual with his larger than life single portraits. His Pape, 2004 is seen above, left. A calm, controlled regulated Pope sits pensive in thought. His body language, while probably not accurately representing his thoughts, alludes quite well to where his thoughts may be taking him. Juxtaposed to this, is Fransis Bacon’s Study after Velazquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X, 1953. Bacon was a British painter born in 1909 and died in 1992. His work generally embodies quite obvious nightmare-esque imagery. Much of his work has Catholic influence, ideas of hell and damnation and crucifixtion. Perhaps these ideas stemmed from his intimate relationship with homosexuality. His fear of how the Catholic church might take him and how he might be accepted in the eyes of God seem to explode off the canvas. So, we are left with the same exact figurative subject, however one may express feelings of guilt while the other may speak of secular dissatisfaction.


Written by thementalmuseum

October 30, 2008 at 1:30 pm

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