[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] China's economy has been growing rapidly in the last few decades as evidenced by recent GDP and Chinese government's enormous investments on public infrastructure. When it comes to China's golden era, the Tang Dynasty (618-907C.E.) was the most glistening historic period, which had been known as the greatest imperial dynasty in Chinese ancient history marked by its economic and cultural prosperity. The recent economic success of China is reminiscent of a reborn or revival of the flourishing historical era. For such an economic revival in the 21st century, however, China has paid a high price for the negative outcomes of pollution, over exploitation, deforestation, social disparities and conflicts. Though alluring and striking, the so-called "prosperity" in today's China is only superficial, unreal or even illusory for the fact that necessary sacrifice for this "prosperity" is somehow disturbing as if the lesson of Hans Andersen's classic story "The Emperor's New Clothes", where people are only indulged in a self-created, unreal 'illusion' to satisfy their ego, ignorance and arrogance. My painting series entitled Illusion intends to reveal the imaginary yet disturbing 'illusions' of today's China through contradicting juxtapositions of ironic and absurd images. It puts together contrasting dimensional spaces of classical Chinese brush painting and Western neoclassical oil painting and coincides layers of original contexts of images through which new imageries and 'new space' are created for critiques and reflections of the current society in China.
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