Friday, 2 August 2013

He Duolingh, he not a beatle

He Duolingh bears a disconcerting resemblance to Paul McCartney so it's a relief to see that his hair is not dyed, that there is variance of colour, all the way to grey, contained in its palette. Either that, or he's got a better hairdresser.

The resemblance isn't just personal: the work has an overall sugariness tempered with attempts at something harder. It has a smell of David Hamilton as well, an echo reinforced by the net strung across the gym-sized studio and a pile of sportswear in the corner. And the evident joy taken in conducting simultaneous interviews has a familiar, beatle-y ring to it.

Visiting He Duolingh's studio was a good introduction to the culture of the successful artist which seems to be thriving in China. He lives and works in a purpose-built enclave of artists' studios, constructed in an inward-looking circle. His studio is in a little side road, the tail on the Q, the superior studio with its own leisure facilities beyond the netball court.

In a way that was to become familiar, he started the interview waiting for every question to be asked then translated. Before long he was interrupting the translator or answering the question before it was translated.

Did he, like some would later, eventually break into broken English in frustration at the translation? Maybe - I don't remember, because there was something increasingly uncomfortable about the works around us - not the rather fay, wireframe bicycles and cellos, but those Hamilton-like canvases. Dodgy, I'd call them.

As a little after-thought, a dessert to his main course,  He took us to visit a neighbour in the enclave,  a young man about whom they all agreed he must have considerable backing from rich parents, given the cost of the studios, the quality of his materials, and the swankyness of his car. As for his work, this tribute, or fan-wall, or obsessor, to Avril Levigne doesn't seem that different to a million teenagers' walls. It's not a surprise to discover that we have no record of his name.

Next: Xiao Kegang

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