When JIA Juanli moved to Paris about twenty years ago, after obtaining her diploma from the National School of Fine Arts in Peking, she chose to use anamnesis, to free herself from the images of an over-pervasive past. Hence her visual and affective grammar is based on the embodiment of certain cultural and sociological myths, rooted in collective Chinese memory, thoroughly transformed by her palette, and her capacity for metaphor.


In this gallery of figures straddling enigmatic worlds, it is the feminine universe that motivates the artist, drawing us into a dream world consistent with the historical context, the heart of vast palaces, harems, birds and flowers, trees and gardens.


However, beyond the calm, something serious emerges from this iconography evocative of a past, revealing the spirit of an era. Of course, the subject is far from mundane, as it is the axis around which the signs of the artist’s perception are organized. But while the referent draws from a bygone age, the technique that brings together these velvety tones, the shades of grey or their subtle gradients, is based on oil painting and is, in fact, highly contemporary. We see this in the distribution of shadow and light, the perfect rhythm of the empty spaces and the organization of a range of complex shaded textures that, as Elie Faure said, recall that the spirit of a painting lies in its texture. It does not seek to create an emotion, which emerges at the appropriate moment ‘the shock is instantaneous, often unexpected’, to use Bonnard words.


Gérard  Xuriguera


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