Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Chinese Paper Cut

Whoa! At the mere hint of a tax rebate I've become an art collector. Normally, I walk round London with eyes down (metaphorically speaking) and desires reined in when it comes to buying.

It's the Age of Restraint since R and I sat down and made a budget last September. It took several days of sitting down and a lot of shouting, as I recall.

Apparently (well, it's a fact) when you get to 65 your tax code goes up. If I'd sent back the form asking 'Have your circumstances changed?' and tracked down my NI number before Christmas I'd have found out earlier. I wouldn't have accumulated enough to make me throw caution to the winds, though. Well, I wouldn't have bought this picture.

I'd had to miss the January 17th launch of this very small exhibition of Chinese Paper-cuts, at Charing Cross Road Library, which was annoying because I'd met the artist at the Probsthain's woodcut exhibition and said I'd write about it for the Dimsum website. I was reminded it was there when I called in at the library last week, looking for a copy of 'Revolutionary Road''.

I was amazed by this transformation of paper-cut art, which I'd previously seen only as one-dimensional representations of symbolic animals and plants. These were abstract, and made from layered papers in different colours to resemble paintings . The one I chose was a 'Double Happiness ' symbol, harbinger of married bliss. You never know.

Later in the day I met up with the artist, who'd been summoned by the libararian, and had a mini guided tour with explanations. 'Double Happiness', for instance, can symbolise other unions, such as a priest and religion, or an artist and his muse. He was as entertaining as I remembered and told me he'd reduced the prices considerably for Chinese New Year. I felt a bit guilty, but after all, if the piece hadn't cost only £45, I couldn't have afforded it.

Anyway, my picture is on display until February 2nd, when the artist says he'll have it all packed and ready for collection. I expect he'll put another in its place, because the exhibition lasts until February 7th.

No 'Revolutionary Road' to be had, but a minor revolution for me, debut art collector.

Here's more about it:

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