Artwork of Tin-Yum Lau >> Painting 1 Painting 1 | Painting 2 | Painting 3 | Painting 4
The Dream of Spring / The Spring of Dream Introduction | 2 | 3

About 2,500 years ago, the Chinese sage Chuan-Tze expressed a serious doubt as to the seperate existence of dream and reality. In a poem about a fisherman who dreamt that he was a butterfly, he asked himself whether it was not equally possible that a butterfly could dream to be a fisherman. Chuan-Tze did not provide us with an answer and the question still remains.

Chinese characters signifying respectively dream or spring are written side by side on a series of paintings executed by the artist Tin-Yum Lau at the very intersection of dream and reality. They show a number of young female nudes, depicted in the springlike fullness of their bodies. At first glance, one could be inclined to think that these paintings simply relate to the eternal dream of male desire. There may be a degree of truth to that. Further thought, however, tends to tell us that this could not necessarily be the painter's sole motive in creating these images.

The artist's origin and his calligraphy next to the paintings indicate that these works, although done in a Western style, are also related to Chinese culture. In this connection, let us refer to a Chinese poem written hundreds of years ago (the period of the Six Dynasties, 300-600 A.D.) by a woman whose name has sadly been forgotten by time. The poem reads as follows :

She opens her window
To the autumn moon's light
She puts out the candle
And slips off her silken skirt

Softly she smiles
Within the curtains of her bed
She raises her body
An orchid fragrance spreads

It is in this light that we must observe Tin-Yum Lau's nudes.

Léo Rosshandler, A.I.C.A.
Montreal, novembre 2001

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