Lou JIE (Chinese, b. 1968)
Luo Jie graduated from Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts, Chongquing, China in 1991.
Luo Jie laments the vicissitudes of his father’s generation. He regards himself and his parents as victims of the historical circumstances of their lives. During the Mao regime his father was forced to solitude as he was sent to work far away from home and family, while his mother took him to work with her at a silkworm farm. After retiring he had to forsake his family home which was demolished to make place for the new housing developments. At first he found solace by tying ropes into fishing nets. Gradually he lost his mind but kept on weaving nets which gradually accumulated around him creating his own private asylum.
In Chinese philosophy it is implied that only by emptying one’s self, can one divest his painful existence. Self annulment leads to salvation. Luo Jie finds his own redemption by the laborious process of painting.
Luo Jie’s course of life echoes the tragedy of his father. His obligations towards his family prevented him from following his artistic career and the awareness of failure led him to despair and depression. It is only after his parent’s death that he could resume art as a full time occupation. In his works he is preoccupied with suffering and loss. He feels imprisoned within himself. The fishing nets of his father have become the entangled ropes in his paintings. He is obsessed with the haunting images of tortured men and women, faceless, genderless, anonymous, empty creatures, composed of multiple layers of ropes with loose ends slowly falling apart. Like himself, his heroes are victims of their fate.
“Beuys once said that art was therapeutic. In this respect, I’ve almost drawn close to this master. We have similarly painful memories, though his were caused by war and mine were caused by this rapidly transforming society. It’s not important to me what my paintings have expressed. What is important is that through this work I have entered a peaceful, simple world. I have gotten myself through much of the time in this clamorous, chaotic world with this method. This process will not cease until my life does, just like in my youth when I would hide in the silkworm hut watching those spring worms spitting out silk.”– Luo Jie, 2006.