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In 1939, Gao Jianfu was one of the Chinese artists who founded the Awakening Art Academy. The main purposes of the academy were to produce skilled artists who could document the war crimes in form of paintings, and to host art exhibitions in the southern cities of Macao and Hong Kong (Hung 148). During his time, Jianfu not only spearheaded establishment of national art academies, but also produced iconic paintings of ruined cities and buildings. Succeeding sections of this paper contains formal analysis of two paintings on the theme of ruins and destruction by Jianfu.
In one painting on page 151 of the chapter The Birth of Ruins, Jianfu uses ink and color on paper to depict a Chinese city in ruins. On page 153 of the same chapter, there is a painting by Jianfu depicting the burning of the Afong Palace. With respect to the painting of a city in ruins, Jianfu work shows the architectural remains of two adjacent buildings, clustered debris on the ground, and white and orange smokes soaring up to the skies. The city in ruins painting contains diagonal lines. Edges of the destroyed walls are diagonally aligned with respect to the ground. In addition, debris and smoke streams are tilted with respect to the ground’s horizontal and vertical planes (Hung 151). Similarly, the painting of Afong Palace depicts dust, ashes and smoke rising in a tilted manner. In both paintings, Jianfu employed the use of diagonal lines to convey a feeling of instability. Diagonally represented structures means they are either unstable, or are wobbling from the effect of instability (Whitney 58). By using diagonal lines, Jianfu wanted to concisely represent the destroying effects of Japanese invasion in the city painting, and the detrimental state of the Afong Palace in the second painting.
With respect to the formal analysis concepts of shape and form, Jianfu depicted both paintings in three dimensions. By viewing the city ruins and the Afong Palace painting, one
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