Universiteit Leiden

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Lecture | also on line with Zoom

Affective Fish

Friday 8 April 2022
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden
0.28 and online

How does one paint joy? Joy, or le, in literary and visual representations had become one of the codified feelings through classical discourses by the middle period in China (9th-14th centuries). This talk asks how the canonized feeling of joy inspired and challenged artists in the middle period. Focusing on a series of paintings depicting swimming fishes, the talk explores how the tension between “knowing” and “feeling” of joy—in the process of both creating and viewing of the paintings—registered distinctive modes of engagement between worlds at multiple levels: between the non-human and the human, between water and air, between ancient and contemporary, and between official and unofficial realms in society. By delving into these modes of epistemic and emotional engagement, the inquiry articulates how the somatic dimension of the fish in the visual representations—including their quintessential relationship to surrounding environs and their unlikely human faciality—reveals contemporary interest in “feeling” the ontologically distinct worlds in a way that was otherwise indefinable in words. I suggest that these works not only inscribe traces of a changing epistemological paradigm of the self in the phenomenal world, but also demonstrate the new potential of painting as a medium aspiring to transcend patly mimetic stagings of sanctioned emotions.

This event is sponsored by The Hulsewé-Wazniewski Foundation.

Link to Zoom

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