Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Yang Qian • Femmes à leur Toilette

Femmes à leur Toilette: Paintings by Yang Qian

A woman at her bath or “toilette” has been a persistant theme in Western art and Christian iconography. It refers to the most intimate ablutions—cleanliness and thus Godliness—of a woman's daily life. Related to the Jewish idea of the Mikvah, the theme is also a meditation on sacred and profane love, hence good and evil.
Yang Qian (“Yahn Chen”) updates these images for the contemporary viewer with steamy showers and bathrooms yet with a certain inherently oriental reticence.
A veil of steam “mist-ifies” the body as it provokes erotic desire; conceals as it reveals. Chinese modesty about the naked female body combined with the artist's skill is the source of the compelling sublety and beauty in these paintings.

Michael Berger, 2005


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