Rabbit Portrait -Dingyoul
- Medium:Ink on rice paper
The rabbit series epitomizes Shao Fan’s signature style and serves as an important creative theme for the artist. In both Chinese and Western societies, rabbits are a commonplace species. In addition to being one of the twelve Chinese zodiac signs, rabbits are often imbued with qualities of prudence and acuity. Shao Fan’s depiction of rabbits, however, came out of a chance encounter. During a visit, the artist saw a rabbit at the home of a friend, who later gifted him the rabbit paired with a mate. Shao and the rabbits have since become a family. While observing the rabbits in his studio, Shao decided to paint their portraits.
Influenced by Daoist thought, Shao advocates equality between humans and animals. In order to consolidate this idea, he deliberately enlarged the size of the rabbits to human scale, where they gaze at the viewer, forming a direct and dialogical relationship between the viewer and the depicted. This tactic projects a unique tension mediated between large and small, far and near, real and fantasy, direct and convoluted, highlighting an experience that does not occur in everyday life. Through his works, the artist hopes that people can confront the natural world with humility and engage with it in a more harmonious way, following Laozi’s notion of “recovering one’s original nature.”