Sunday, June 9, 2013

Niobe - An Installation

I have always been drawn to tragic stories, particularly those of cosmic grandeur, often with Greek origins.  The legend of Niobe, a proud princess and mother of fourteen children, seven sons and seven daughters (the Niobids), who boasted of her large offspring and jeered at goddess Leto, who had only two children, the twins Apollo and Artemis, resulting in unbearable tragedy was one of my favorites.

Gods were not to be mocked at and the offended Leto sent her children to revenge on her honor.  Apollo and Artemis started to shoot with arrows and killed Niobe's sons and daughters one by one.  Niobe's begging to spare at least one daughter came too late and none of her fourteen children were spared.  The loss was so great, the grieve so heavy, that Niobe turned into stone, yet even the stone continued to weep tears.


The Weeping Rock in Mount Sipylus, Manisa, Turkey, has been associated with Niobe's legend since Antiquity, Source: RKTanitim

Since I started my "White Dress" series, I have been exploring the expressive possibilities with this chosen, therefore confining motif and the results often took me by surprise, and they further fanned my curiosity and wanted to probe ever further.

Though my recent well-received "Stringed White Dresses - An Installation" was a success, I felt that the origami dresses in that installation were too prim, too orderly.  I wanted to create something more chaotic.  For the composition, I imagined a large dress, like a queen bee, surrounded by smaller ones; therefore, Niobe story fit into the conceit perfectly.

After several tryouts, I decided on the sizes of those dresses and chose white dresses to represent female and grey male characters.  Before I folded those origami dresses, I crumpled the paper to give them a more lively look.  I put black ink and brown wash on paper to create the chaos in the background, some areas were covered with white oil wash to enrich the texture and to give more contrast to the dresses taped over the drawing paper, and finally some yellow oil streaks to suggest the ungodly gods' touches.

To finish the entire assemblage, I pinned the little daughter Niobe tried to save onto her with a needle, and finally, I freely splashed black ink over the ensemble and that constituted my final touch.

Niobe / 尼俄柏 / Niobe


Other Related posts on Art · 文化 · Kunst:
- Unexpected Successes of "Stringed White Dresses - An Installation"
- "White Dress" Series Continues - A New Drawing and a New Painting
- One More Painting Featuring White Dress
- My Next Show - Prince Street Gallery, Chelsea, New York
- White Dresses - First Painting Finished in 2011

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