Chart of Changes
“Chart of Changes” is probably David’s overarching concept work of this series as he experiments with colour charts coupling to the analogy of human physiology and psychology. This painting is also likened to the Ying Yang symbol. Ying Yang is a philosophical concept of dualism in ancient Chinese philosophy that dates back from the 3rd BCE or even earlier. The principle of Ying Yang is that all things exist as inseparable and contradictory opposites, female-male, dark-light, old-young. It is the fundamental concept in Chinese philosophy, medicine, and culture. Ying Yang’s philosophy has permeated many aspects of Chinese lives. Nevertheless, Ying Yang philosophy does not pertain to Chinese belief but has similar application in the Western realm of philosophy and culture. Jane Austen’s novel Sense and Sensibility, published in 1811, tells the story of the impoverished Dashwood family, focusing on the sisters Elinor and Marianne. Elinor is personifying good sense, common sense, and Marianne being sensibility and emotionality. The two girls are very colourful yet different, as Elinor uses good sense in choosing a man worthy of her love. However, Marianne is ruled by sensibility and suffers a broken heart. The moral lesson of the novel is that it is prudent to behave sensibly, but it is reckless or even dangerous to give up oneself to the excess of sensibility, the need for balance. Here, David’s distribution of the two slices in the painting is balanced and represents the counter-balance between right and wrong, good and evil, lucky and unlucky, sense and sensibility. Over the years, the Ying Yang symbol has become a meme for many products. The semiotics of the symbol range from the exotic to the mystical, secular, and religious. In I Ching’s Book of Changes, good or evil, light or dark, healthy or sickness will have to coexist in order for the world to be at equilibrium.
DAVID CHAN paints in a realistic style, yet hints of the surrealistic connotation come into play in his subjects such as animals, humans/human hybrids against his vivid or monolithic background. At first glance, the audacious works seem comical or bewildering. However, upon closer observation, the initial impression gives way to the artist’s reality and his take on social issues such as popular culture and genetic engineering, and human behaviour in our current times. In that, it is always not easy to unpack the story behind each of David’s works. It is like taking a lateral journey with David, the improbable storyteller himself.
One has to dip deep into David’s realm of reality and imagination to understand his visual language and its iconographical interpretations of the story to be able to fathom the realistic rendition of his work. In David’s early works, such as his “A Divine Comedy” and “Modern Beliefs” series, his works would be more fun, witty, and to some extent, whimsical. He used his in-depth knowledge of ethics of genetics to explore the anecdotes of human and societal relations, often humorous and comical, but with satire, serious undertone. David’s visuals took a darker tone in his series of works in “Hybrid Society”, exploring the hybridisation and oxymoron of humanity and society. David sought to rationalise the truth in the society of hybrids; the dichotomy of truths and lies, good and evil, strong and weak in humanity and societal relations, giving penetrating insights, often satirised and dramatic. David’s body of work is not just comprised of two-dimensional works; he is very skilled and commendable in the school of sculpture. His obsession with perfection and detail showed vividly in his majestic pair of deeply imaginative and visually impactful sculptures, “Chimerative and Centauree”. David’s hybrid take of these mythological creatures embodied the theme and ideology with literary and biblical complexities altogether, showing how ancient masculinist and femininity theories can be discoursed and re-interpreted in today’s contemporary urban environment.
“The Grey Gap” is a collection of David’s random thoughts and ramblings. An exploration into the edges and gaps of his realization and fascinations, a look at the seeds that have unravelled, and his search for rationality and equilibrium in his works in comprehending human existence and nature. David is a true storyteller, sitting on the fence, watching the world.
Oil on Archers Paper
105cm x 75cm