Collection

Nora Aslan (1937 - )

Ventanas chinas (2000)
Chinese Windows

Paper on canvas
height: 150cm
width: 150cm
Collage

Donated by Nora Aslan 2001

5-2001

From a distance, Aslan's image functions purely as design. It is only as the viewer draws nearer that it becomes apparent that this intricate lattice is composed of repeated rows of photographic images, carefully arranged on a white-painted canvas.

This work belongs to a series of approximately twenty works of the same name: Ventanas Chinas (Chinese Windows). Each work has its own distinct geometric design, every one of which is taken from a pattern book entitled A Grammar of Chinese Lattice, compiled by Dr Daniel Sheets Dye. An American who moved to China in 1908, Sheets Dye lived and taught in China for forty years. He devoted his spare time to studying endless variations within the design of wooden grille and rice paper windows, creating a taxonomy over 1200 types of lattice.

Each work within the wider Ventanas Chinas series adopts an individual combination of themes, which include violence, the refugee crisis, chaos and crowds. Amongst these Aslan describes the example held by ESCALA as tranquil, because it focuses on one theme only: that of the 'urban environment'. The outer edge of the work is created by paper squares duplicating the image of an empty road travelling towards a distant horizon. As the grid moves inwards this image is contrasted with the heavy urban traffic and busy streets depicted within the next three rows. Further towards the centre, lines of cars alternate with images of bush babies and gorillas, and at the very centre is a photograph of two pairs of eyes (not real eyes however but eyes made from orange peel and vegetable: a visual pun that deceives the viewer even at close range.

Joanne Harwood, 2008

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