I’m in the garden of the wonderful Guggenheim Museum in Venice, listening to a live interview of Caparezza, an Italian rapper and artist, while he’s being sit on the marmoreal throne of the owner Peggy.
It’s the 21st of May, and in just three days it’s going to be the 50th anniversy of that famous night at the Brancaccio in Rome, where Jimi Hendrix slammed his guitar on stage. Because of this, I’m smelling a particular atmosphere, while talking of Music that made history and drinking a spritz in a garden that has made even more. Unfortunately, I get distracted from the interview from some orange brushstrokes of the sunset above a shy growing moon: a paint framed by the leaves of the surrounding trees.
– Peggy Guggenheim on her throne –
At one point though, I hear a phrase that brings me back to earth as fast as a falling elevator:
“As a musician, that wants to express an emotion, writes a song, so an artist paints a picture.”
And this, was the same period that Jingge Dong used with me in order to describe himself three days earlier. Sadly, I had to interrupt him while he was still working on one of his paintings, but the guy that I faced, with some hairs trussed up by the paint, smiled at the me showing all of his teeth. He was ready for the interview.
Jingge Dong, born in Beijing the 12th February 1989, is now enrolled at the second year of the Accademia delle Belle Arti of Venice. I must confess that I made some researches before the interview this time. On the paper, Jingge is presented at his best, winner of multiple prizes like MarteLive 17 of the Biennale and the Celeste Prize with the paint “La Notte Bianca”(The White Night). Let’s simply say that Venice definitely noticed when he landed in the lagoon town. But how did he managed to succeed so quickly?
– The White Night –
I start immediately by asking him about his past in China, where his artistic route has started.
“I must say that in China, the undergraduate degree lasts four years instead of four and the Graduate degree lasts three. That’s a big difference.”
Since from his childhood, he knew, without many mays or don’ts, to be the best of his class at the drawing courses. From that moment he kept studying by following an artistic academic career from intermediate school to the University enrollment. He studied four years in Shangai and afterwards three years in Beijing, for a total of seven years of Classic arts studies.
He tells me how the first years were really printed into copying: figurative art, oil painting and the imitation of the biggest classics paintings. Then, the first turn off, during the graduate degree with a beloved professor that helped him into a more open expression of his talent. From that moment, Jingge Dong found a way to stretch his artistic wings in order to fly in Europe, a world that he was always fascinated.
“I’ve studied Rembrandt and mostly Caravaggio: I love how he manages to control lights and shadows in the volumes. I’ve done some similar works in China. But now I needed more freedom.”
Therefore, at the Academy in Venice he discovered the world of the Expressionist, of the Contemporary and Abstract art. But if you look at his artworks, because simply calling them paintings would be reductive, those seven years spent in China were worth the time. He has a well trained hand, expert and every movement is well thought. Despite this, a little bit of chaos might exist. And because of this, I start to investigate on this intercontinental jump.
“I feel like the perfect example of the art development. I started from the classic arts to the abstractionism.”
I try to ask him many times, in different ways, what is he trying to bring to our eyes, what is his intent, his message. At this point Dong got closer to me and lowered his voice tone, until it seemed that he lost his relevant Chinese accent.
“You know what, Marco, I’m looking for beauty. The content doesn’t really matter: I want to bring a view, that obviously inspire me, on a higher level. I want to make it even more attractive. For me and for you.”
In this two years he managed, step by step, to detach from that Classic and Figurative setting, trying to absorb at his best the philosophy of the Abstractation thought. Now he is the one making the work, or his baby, how he likes to define it. There isn’t imitation. The colors are born from his own imagination.
We’ve talked about his life in Orient and Occident, of Music and Beauty, and when I left the interview I realized that I had just a few lines scratched on my notebook. Jingge Dong is a sort of a Rockstar that charms and dazes you. I have this feeling that if Miss Peggy Guggenheim was able to met him, she would have invited him in her garden for a tea.
If you still have any doubts on who is Jingge Dong, have a look at his artworks and the Night you are walking on will become White. Got it?