An Image of Nothing : Reading Reaction to Kwon Neung’s paintings
PengFeng (Dean of School of Arts Peking University)
The movie, Mr. Nobody, tells us that for a human’s life, there is no difference between the real and the imaginary in ultimate meaning. When Mr. Nobody retrospects his whole life, the real and the imaginary are so intertwining that can’t be distinguished by anyone. In this sense, immersing in imagination and working hard are with the same importance for the construction of life meaning.
Kwon Neung tells us the same principle through his paintings. In his works, the real world, the retrospective world of the real and the totally imaginary world could be existed in the same space. Among the mentioned worlds, there is no hierarchical relations that Plato tried to make us believe. They are totally equal as the world appears in Mr. Nobody’s retrospection.
Thus, it does make sense that postmodern philosophers pay much attention to language. Richard Rorty emphasizes that possessing a kind of language is possessing a kind of life, and creating a kind of language is creating a kind of life. Such opinion seems reasonless, but it really makes sense in the sense of ultimate meaning. When people retrospect, the boundary between those happened and those unhappened is unclear, as they are equal in retrospection.
It is in this sense that we can say a living world is an image of nothing in ultimate meaning. Kwon Neung’s works show us his world and also tell us how he constructed his world. If we go into his painting, we go into his world; if we possess his painting, we possess his world. We could construct our own world in the same way that Kwon Neung does in his painting, even let his painting be a part of our world. Whether we could be a part of his painting world depends on whether we could be an image of nothing kept in Kwon’s memory as well as people’s memory.