Mythic Narratives: The Doors of Paris
Featured Artist: Nicola Jiang
19 November 2023
The purest form of art is the expression of the artist's thoughts, emotions, and fantasies from deep within. In the series "The Doors of Paris," the artist seamlessly blends reality and imagination, creating a captivating and soul-stirring narrative by delving into the cityscape and legendary stories. Renowned for its rich history and iconic architecture, the streets of Paris are adorned with countless doors, silent observers of romantic, revolutionary, and Renaissance tales.
These passageways serve not only as physical transitions from public to private spaces but also symbolize connections between different worlds, whether real or imagined. The series presents a fusion of classical architecture and modern street art. Ornate stone lintels carved with floral patterns and faces are juxtaposed with smooth, psychedelic color combinations, symbolizing freedom, creativity, and the breaking of boundaries. Vibrant tones, ranging from soft pastels to fiery reds, convey the narrative of multiple identities, hidden characters, and the coexistence of past and present.
In the collection titled "Guardians of the Portals," the works are whimsical, surreal, and mythic. The grotesque figures on the doors evoke thoughts of Chinese folk "door gods," traditionally placed symmetrically on both sides, akin to the dual entrance doors of Parisian buildings. Unlike the protective nature associated with door gods in the East, these works seem to portray illusions created by space. The artist transforms door artworks into images framed with Baroque-style elements, disrupting and reorganizing space and time through the decorative process.
The indistinct shapes of the door creatures resemble "totems," symbols used by primitive societies for familial protection. By combining these totemic elements with residential doors, reminiscent of Chinese door gods, the series carries a layer of protective meaning. The vivid, highly saturated colors throughout the series create a strong visual impact, intensifying the aggressive nature of the door creatures. Using watercolors, iPad, and collages, the artist diverges from traditional murals, employing digital processing to place the creatures on the doors, giving them a "virtual" sense of reality. The addresses indicated in the artwork descriptions lead to spaces once "possessed" by these creatures.
This modern aspect reflects the randomness and exploratory nature of situationism, providing surprises akin to Google Maps exploration. The artist's interaction with the city and personal experiences catalyze a chemical reaction, capturing the elegance of Parisian doors that bear the traces of time and history. Embracing both digital and immersive art, the artist recreates landmark doors, injecting them with mythical creatures and legends, evoking ancient tales. The fantasy comes to life on the doors of Paris, representing harmony between history and mythology.
This project extends beyond digital depictions. In an immersive masterpiece, the artist prints and frames the illustrations, placing them juxtaposed in unrelated Parisian streets. This deliberate act invites passersby into a realm where reality and fantasy blend harmoniously. The artist believes in the profound significance of the artistic process, resonating deeply with the series. For both the artist and the observer, it is a journey where each opened door leads to realms of infinite imagination and profound reflection.
Nicola Jiang, born in China in 1997 and currently residing in Shanghai and London, explores emotions, time, conflict, and personal identity through diverse mediums such as painting, sculpture, video, and installation. Her goal is to cultivate a new cultural space that challenges the hierarchical structure of the art market. Influenced by art since childhood and fueled by a fascination with peculiar legends and myths, she has crafted an expansive world for herself, detached from the constraints of the so-called real world. Her vibrant works exhibit visually striking intensity, merging classical and realistic elements. Drawing inspiration from unusual legends and religious mythology, she weaves ancient art into her creations, resulting in surrealist surfaces that embody her distinctive creative logic.