Saturday, March 11, 2006

Munch for the Modern Soul

Last night, my friend told me one of the bloggers and prior friend whom I met in Beijing this time disappeared out of any trace. The Friday I saw him in Beijing was Feb 17. He was on the way to shoot his documentary about underworld Christians in the country.

His last blog entry was Feb 22.

He is a freelancer blogger, documentary film maker, gay, having moved back to Beijing from the US. I suppose to meet with him this month in NYC since one of his documentary film was purchased by Channel 13.

I hope he is alright. I hope all is false alarm. He is happy and believes in making a difference for having a voice.

And Munch's Kiss and Melancholy and Despair filled my soul today. I shall not be shamed of the feeling of passion, jealousy, fear of death and despair from loss, since that is what a Modern Soul is all about according to Munch, so vividly depicted in his painting.

I did not expect this much pain and power from a pale and tall, almost slim looking man.

Red and blue are the colors in Munch's painting for anger, passion, torture and melancholy. Together these color are clashing and painful, but perfect in Munch's painting.

I also love the woodprint Kiss in the field and Forward to the Forest. They are having lighter colors. Light green, brown and warm figures of people kissing and hugging, for lighter moments and better memories.

Munch later find better expression of feeling like screaming in Scream than the below painting, but I looked at the below painting much longer than the Scream.


Blogger chris miller said...

Hello Ms. Red -- this entry -- and your blog -- is all that a fan "Red Chamber" could hope to find: a smart, sensitive, literate, young woman writing about love/despair, Munch paintings, and just a touch of hard-edged business. NYC seems to be your Prospect garden -- and I hope your Baoyu doesn't run off to the mountains with a crippled monk.

11:17 AM  
Blogger New York Red said...

Chris, thanks for the comment! Good to find a fan of Red Chamber in this land. It never stops amazing me. My "Baoyu", albeit a Baoyu borned and raised in New England, has really earned lots of tears from me, as if I am really the Dai Yu who owed him loads from our previous life and encounter....hard-edged business side is really a sheild, it is in red as well.

12:26 PM  
Blogger New York Red said...

I am impressed that you love Dream of Red Chamber and Romance of the Three Kindoms....they are really LONG Chinese classics. I love both of them too. But Dream of Red Chamber, will be the book with me if I have to follow my Dai Yu to the moutains with a crippled monk and only one book is allowed per person.

12:39 PM  
Blogger chris miller said...

Yes these books are very long --- but not long enough !
It was Madame Mao who got me interested in Red Chamber. (she was interviewed at length by an American woman journalist back in the seventies) Apparently, she thought that the correct interpretation of this novel was a matter of life or death (regrettfully so - for those who disagreed with her) And yes -- I do have a taste for historical Chinese popular literature . My Chinese-born friends laugh at me for trying to read translations -- and it may well be that most of the meanings and all of the poetry escapes me --- and yet Cao Xueqin held me captive for the 80 chapters that he contributed -- and now that he's gone -- where else to find all that passion and precise reflection, if not on the blog of NewYork Red ?

Regarding the Munch show-- it's coming to Chicago later in the year,and when it does, I'll revisit what you've written.

8:58 AM  
Blogger New York Red said...

There is a saying that one of the 4 major regrets/Sorrow for Chinese as a whole is: the unfinished Dream of Red Chamber by XueQIN. I almost only reread the frist 80 chapters wrote by him. But I am curious whether you can tell the difference between first 80 and last 40 in the translated version....;-) Although I have all the respect for the translator to take on the huge task. Borges, my beloved writer, also shared a fancy with Red Chamber.

....I shall go back for Munch again at a weekday, when there is less people, when I will had a audio guide and have it all to myself, before it leaves here.

7:04 PM  
Blogger chris miller said...

It was as if an early, overnight, hard frost had hit the garden between chapter 80 and 81. Like the lid of a pressure-cooker, the palpable sense of impending doom was lifted -- but after that was gone -- who cared any more ? It's like the Florence Pieta that was started by Michelangelo and finished by poor Calcagni. You can tell which part was done by which -- and the contrast is tragic. (especially for the reputation of Calcagni. Most of us are mediocre, but imagine being eternally famous for it !) BTW -- what were the other three sorrows in Chinese history ? I think the Yangtze River is one -- I'd guess the An Lushan rebellion against the beloved Tang is another --- the interminable longevity of the Dowager Empress ? or the fact that the Qianlong emperor was born 100 years too early ?

12:10 PM  
Blogger New York Red said...

It is official, Chris. You know more about Chinese history than I do. I don’t remeber what the other 3 are, actually, they are all related with literature and art, first talked about by Ai Ling Zhang, a famous contemporary novelist and an expert on DRC (Dream of Red Chamber). She died alone in the US. There are too many other sorrows related with China, it is a country with heavy history and that much to carry...But we hope for the best.

"It was as if an early, overnight, hard frost had hit the garden between chapter 80 and 81." This is very well said. But you know, the main function of last 40 is put an end to the story. The Wedding of Bao Yu and Death of Dai Yu at the same night were probably best known by common Chinese people and were performed in countless art forms. By itself, it is not bad writing or story telling at all. But as you said, it is just never good enough to match with the miraculous first 80 chapters.

1:30 PM  

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