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Lot Details


Cai Jin

( Chinese, 1965 )

Banana Leaves Series




Oil on canvas


62.99 in. (160.00 cm.) (height) by 59.06 in. (150.00 cm.) (width)


Signed in English and dated on bottom left


EXHIBITED5 Jun – 31 Jul 2005, Sexuality and Sadness, Beijing Tokyo Arts Project, Beijing


LITERATURE2008, Leap Magazine Jul&Aug; Vol. 2008, Modern Media, Shanghai2012, Cai Jin, Hunan Arts Publishing House, Hunan


PROVENANCEPrivate collection, AsiaCai Jin was born in China’s Anhui Province and graduated in 1986 from the Fine Arts Department of Anhui Normal University, and then continued her artistic education by attending oil painting workshops at the Central Academy of Fine Arts. Her work is quite unlike the more politically accepted genre inspired by Russian oil paintings that was then prevalent, and this made her a notable female artist in the new art scene of post-1989 China. In 1990, by coincidence, during a return to her hometown, she was suddenly struck by the notion that bananas had something that strongly suggested a woman’s innate delicacy. From the very first time she painted them, she felt a new spark of excitement within. From there, her Banana Leaves series arose; these works have become a signature motif that has been winning her a great deal of public attention. In the creation of this series, she experiments with expressing an abstract theme using Realist strategies, and in this kind of experimentation, finely painted details and the charm evoked by impulsive brushstrokes manifest an intimate female mentality on the canvas.A Token of FeminismCreated in 2005, this piece from the Banana Leaves series is representative of Cai’s mature work. The leaves on the canvas, highlighted with scarlet hues and imbued with a sense of decay, grow, spreading wide as if ready to burst beyond the confines of the painted surface, stretching out to find anything they can cling to. Cool pink mixes with emerald green, small contortions coalescing into a larger overall shape, making it clear that the leaves are a secret and complex form of life. The gradient layer of oil paint in the background cascades like a waterfall, the firm and ever present banana leaves in the foreground appearing to be showered with the raindrops of time. This illustrates the female artist’s pliability and fortitude, while the drooping leaves add a noticeable touch of elegant feminine decadence.In Banana Leaves series, Cai recreates the object with floating, wandering, and pervasive colors through the impulsivity of the brushstrokes. In stark contrast to the well-known American female artist Georgia O’Keeffe, whose cool-blooded flower series reflects the historical period of the American industrial revolution, Cai’s bold and passionate banana leaves imply the value of liberated and self-reliant modern-day women in today’s fast-paced China, a product of the country’s economic reform. The imagery of banana leaves that varies from picture to picture is, without exception, saturated with vigor, and as the leaves permeate the twenty-year span of the artist’s entire career. This series is a reflection of the true spirit of the modern female artist.



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