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‘Alone Not Alone’ by Qianqian Ye

— Joyce Chong

I visualize these personal and universal vulnerabilities in my ink paintings. The unpredictability of ink and water, and the influence of time, parallel the nuance of social interaction.

This week I have a special treat for your eyes, a series of artworks by Qianqian Ye featured recently in The Offing. In many of these pieces, Ye depicts uncertainty and topics of the faltering self in social spaces, the act of maintaining stability in an ever shaky interpersonal web. Each piece is illustrated with ink and water on paper, depicting figures and obstacles; strange spaces dividing and defining the distance between one another.

Each piece reveals the vulnerable and awkward aspects of daily social life, which normally remain unspoken. I deal with the moments that are mundane: an internal monologue, an uncomfortable silence, a night of petting a cat.

In one piece called ‘You Never Returned’, a figure stands at the edge of a square-shaped hole in the ground, head tilted downwards slightly. The stark contrast of the black ink against paper, the murkiness of the diluted ink diffusing through the paper leaves the sensation of approximated detail, and adds to the universality of the images. At times it’s as if the titles themselves could be poems, serving as gateways into each piece, a lens with which to view and understand because, like real life, these images on their own can be quiet and uncertain. It’s only when a voice cuts through the darkness that we can see each other better, understand that we are not as far from one another as we thought.


The Offing