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