Have you felt the strong wind?

“Vent Fort” of Xiao Fan RU, exhibited in Galerie RX

I had a great opportunity to admire the work “Vent Fort” (Strong wind) of Xiao Fan When I visited the RX Gallery in Paris. The work is very sizeable at 146 x 97 x 3 cm. It almost occupies a whole wall of a large hall. Stood in front of such an overwhelming painting, I was totally immerged in this world.

Xiao Fan has named this work “Strong Wind”. I find it a very informative title. It hints at a much deeper message conveyed by the painting. The contemporary culture that we live in encourages greatly individualism. Thus, many people concentrate only on their personal objectives. However, if we don’t look around us from time to time, we miss out on understanding what’s going on for real.

The strong wind shown in this work is not just a natural phenomenon. If we look carefully, we can see that people show very different styles and manners. It is not difficult for us to conclude that they are from all different walks of life. All these people gathered together in one place like this have made the scene surrealist and even a bit absurd.

However, the main message is precisely communicated by this surrealism. This strong wind is actually a cultural and social mainstream current of an era. One such current always exists in each human culture since the beginning of the civilization. Ironically, it is very easy to lose sight of it despite that we are immersed in it. The reason being it is a lot easier to get lost in trivial details in life and let time slip by than observe and try to understand the world.

Fortunately, we are not all the same. Look at the reactions of people in this painting, we can see clearly a difference between their attitudes and manners. The woman in front with a torn umbrella seems not knowing well what’s going on. She was exhausted by trying to hold everything together. To the right, there’s a young man who is clearly panicking. He has not a slightest clue of what to do next. To the left, we see two people who have well anticipated the coming wind. Not only coping well with the force of wind, they also take advantage of the situation to distribute their flyers prepared beforehand. There’re also many others reacting differently. We see someone who’s waiting passively, not caring what comes next. We see another who’s fascinated by the power of wind and is in a frenzy state. We can also see a person who cannot handle all that is happening and decides to jumps into the lake.

Xiao Fan has shown us a complete world on canvas. In this world we see the conflict and tension between the mainstream current of an era and all sorts of characters. Have you felt the strong wind yet?

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