Updated: 8 hours ago

The other day, I had an opportunity to look at works I did in the past. This is something I rarely do. Looking back is just not my thing. The oldest of these works I had spread across the studio was created fifteen years ago. Actually, I was pleasantly surprised to see that most still made sense to me and were relevant to what I was doing today. It was as though I was standing on top of a cliff observing the path and the necessary detours that led me to where I am now.

Almost all of my works are done on or made using paper. Furthermore, they are all created methodically, based on systems. These systems consist of a predetermined structural component that includes setting up rules and the more fluid, which involves repeating the process and building the piece. In other words, the elements of order and the potential for chaos both reside in the system. My earlier works rely on systems resembling rituals, expressing consistency, continuity, and a state of calm and order. I’m currently inspired by the concept of play, where rules and structural elements are set up to highlight and encourage playful transgression.

study 110113, 10x10cm, pen on paper, 2013

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Updated: 8 hours ago

Another construction project is underway at the park. This time, the area they are renovating is the centerpiece, the eye-catching part where you walk up to when entering the main entrance. They already took apart the rose garden, removed the palm trees, and destroyed the big round fountain. The new garden plan they posted on the fence shows a sleek and rather anticlimactic design. Again, the main feature is a fountain, but this one is rectangular, dark shaded, and I’m guessing it will have a bunch of sensors that trigger water to squirt up here and there. Perhaps the former one was outdated, but I’m not convinced that this new look is any better. If you look further to the west, you can spot several factory towers puffing out smoke from the other side of the canal. Back in the sixties, a large industrial complex was constructed by destroying the beautiful beach famous for its white sand and green pine trees since ancient times. Honestly, no fancy state-of-the-art fountain can make up for what has been destroyed.

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Updated: 8 hours ago

When I was much younger, a wise older woman once said to me during a conversation, "I'd rather you didn't say I understand so easily." To express that I was connecting with her, I had been efficiently devouring information and immediately labeling them understood. However, she was in a completely different state of mind, merely hoping to share a moment of contemplation and leaving things open-ended. This is in fact, the kind of mindset that is also needed to enjoy an artwork. It's essential when it comes to the type of art that I create, which is nonrepresentational.

Nonrepresentational art is a type of abstract art. As the name suggests, the abstracted images are not literal representations of objects in real life. In other words, images are not the result of simplifying or distorting a figurative form. For example, a white rectangular shape can reference a block of tofu in abstract art. But in nonrepresentational art, a similar-looking shape usually does not reference anything specific in the visible world. Instead, they reside in a different reality created by the artist. Disparate realities are not exclusive to art and artists. They exist everywhere.

My parents are both in their eighties and are doing physically well but have been showing signs of aging, which sometimes makes communication a challenge. What I feel has most changed is their sense of logic and order. It is as though the latticework of structure in their minds has weathered away, leaving symbols and images floating and drifting. Connecting with them without being frustrated has been an ongoing issue of mine until this recent epiphany. I realized that they, too, live in a disparate reality that seems somewhat disconnected from the rest of the world. The key is not to be judgmental but instead, take it in as it is and enjoy exploring their unique universe.

Studio, one day in September 2021

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