A conversation


Liu Tian: How about we start with colour? Colour has to be pretty important to you?

Chen Dongfan: Yes. You could say it\'s my weapon.

Liu Tian: You just mentioned that you don’t generate forms from sketches or blueprints, and that this “emerges” rather from your work with colour.

Chen Dongfan: Yes. If you look at a painting, you see what a certain patch of colour actually is, this swatch of yellow for instance. This isn’t something one can arrange by design, but exists rather for itself. First I apply the yellow and at first it’s relatively for

Liu Tian: Nonetheless, between all these different colours there’s an interaction occurs.

Chen Dongfan: That’s right. That’s where most of the work is. It’s also what’s most difficult to regulate. How can so many colours exist alongside one another without “fighting”? As it is, sometimes one just has to let them “fight” - so to speak. If we talk about compo

Liu Tian: I think that’s really interesting: You’re most fond of black and white, and yet your paintings consist of so many different hues. At the same time you say however that when you paint you’re searching for the serenity of black and white. In fact, if you we

Chen Dongfan: Yes, it’s extremely difficult. As it happens, I have more than ten paintings here that I’ve always just wanted to paint over in black and white. It’s just difficult to bring myself to do it. Because what’s there isn’t something you can necessarily see, ma

Liu Tian: Is what you’re creating in your work a sort of “equilibrium” then?

Chen Dongfan: Before I would have said it was about looking for order in disorder, but more recently I discover that yes, really what I’ve been looking for is a sort of “equilibrium” and not just the sort we talked about before, the tranquil, serene harmonies of black