First Act: Lucky Charms?
Superstition always plays a significant role in popular culture. In most instances superstitions are related to cultural perception which is rooted in different forms of ancient animistic beliefs and symbolism. Superstitions lead us to believe and feel that encountering or dreaming with certain animals could have different readings or meanings. In ancient times, the shamans or priests could read the blessings or possible spells derived from these encounters.
In contrast with the West, Chinese culture has a very particular relationship to not only mythical but also real animals: snakes, frogs, grasshoppers, fish, praying mantis and bats are always symbolic of receiving abundant blessings.
This First Act: Lucky Charms? has as a main focus the figure of the bat, an animal feared as a creature of the night and shadows in the West but believed to be extremely auspicious in the East. In the Chinese language the sound “蝠/Fú” of a bat coincides with the sound of wishing good luck. Depictions of bats have traditionally been placed in houses, in ceramics, illustrations and weeding presents..
The first act gathers a total of five blessings attributed to bats, five blessings stand for love or virtue, longevity, health, wealth and a peaceful death. The character o “到/Dào” which means upside down depending on the tone could also mean arriving. This overlapping of meanings and the fact that bats rest and fly upside down as if descending from heaven portrays the bat as a symbolic messenger or provider of good fortune. Six medium format paintings, an introductory one, three with the bats hanging upside down and two standing complete this first act.
Because of the possible origins of the pandemic, this animal remains relevant in our collective imagination. Bright colours, humanised faces and vibrant brushstrokes are used to highlight the magnetic and mysterious nature of these animals, which make us both curious and uneasy about them.
First Lucky Charm, Oil on Canvas, 116x89x5cm, 2021
Second Lucky Charm, Oil on Canvas, 116x89x5cm, 2021
Third Lucky Charm, Oil on Canvas, 116x89x5cm, 2021
First Upside Down Lucky Charm, Oil on Canvas, 116x89x5cm, 2021
Second Upside Down Lucky Charm, Oil on Canvas, 116x89x5cm, 2022
Five Lucky Charms, Oil on canvas, 89x116x5cm, 2022