Midsummer in the South
By Zhu Xuanxian
Woodcut, In Chongqing City, China, 1993
"Here, I want to talk about the creation of my chromatic woodcut Midsummer in the South in 1993. It should be dated from 1963, when I returned to my hometown in Taizhou, Zhejiang, the first time after my departure from there years before, and I met with my dear mother aged about 80, and finished several paintings about the village buildings and the environment, with which I was so familiar and intimate.
28 years later, I returned to my hometown for the second time, and found that the old buildings had been replaced by the 3 or 5-floor modern farmer cottages, and there were many highways! I remember when I was a child, my home was just 4 or 5 miles from the eastern coastal line, and I often went there to catch fishes and turtles, while now the landscape had changed a lot after dozens of years, the coastal line had expanded, and large state-owned farmlands established on the newly formed plains, which was really a great change!
The painting Midsummer in the South——My Hometown was done on the basis of my feelings in my two trips to my hometown. The picture is neither truly the old scene I saw in my first trip, nor the great change I found in my second trip. I arranged the picture as this: there is boundless green land, and in the bamboo woods is a building of white walls and black tiles, which are the features of my hometown in the past; several villagers are working in the fields, which is also the characteristic farming of my old hometown; in the near side, a lot of young man and women are riding motorcycles or bicycles, seemingly returning from the market; in the riverside bushes, some wooden boats are on the water quietly, which are important vehicles in my early years and are now forgotten; all these describe the thriving life of south China in mid summer, yet they also reveal my sweet memory of my hometown and my childhood!"
——Excerpt from It Looks Like What Happens To Be, But It Is Chewed To Be What Must Be——Retrospect to My Painting Career of More than 50 Years, By Zhu Xuanxian in 1999.