Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Sketchbook of Qian Pingji

Qian Pingji's paintings are one thing
but his ink drawings are something else,
and thanks to Misha Livshulz,
I discovered the magic
of the sketchbook
which accompanied the exhibition of paintings.

The sketchbook is small
(about 8-inches high)
and  the drawings are even smaller
when he fits two, or more!,
drawings on each page

He's quite the  miniaturist,
where even the tiniest of marks
seem to be inflected.

(and you get feeling that his love of discrete details descends beneath the visual threshold
where only a magnifying glass could discern them)

None of the pages are titled
(at least in English)
but this one appears to be
a cubist view of the Shanghai skyline

I'm guessing that  many of the views are imaginary,
and like some German painters from the 16th C,
he likes to draw every rock in a wall.

My errant thumb
gives some idea of the scale.

Though he's self taught,
he can't seem to help
echoing the elements
of traditional Chinese brush painting

There are three tiny horses in the foreground,
that he has imagined seen from above
and walking on the same plane

I do wish he would scale up
some these designs
and just let them stay black and white


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