Portrait of Mephisto

published in: Graphics, Photography By Costas Voyatzis, 01 May 2008

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Mr.Maleonn..has really touched my soul with his awesome portfolio. His work mixes graphic design and photography..with the most romantic results you have ever seen!

I found an interesting interview in Kasia Kay Art Projects press area.

(Maleonn for the italian PIG-magazine issue42, October 2006)

*The world is a mess, and for what is possible to foresee it will be more and more... in your photos there is a drama side always with an ironic touch... do you want to remind us
to do not forget to play? Is there a child inside of you?

Yes, I agree that the world is getting more and more chaotic inevitably because of the material prosperity. I feel that the bottoms of our hearts are still very simple, at least maintained very simple. Actually I believe that everyone has   little himself inside his heart who's persistently unwilling to grow up. We couldn't help to grow up as well as the death is the inevitably doomed tragedy. Sometimes I do wish my works is a placebo to soothe the nervous world and to bring some joy for the audience. But most of the time I'm still a pessimist. I believe that more loneliness would follow on all the games and joy, however.
*a lot of your pics are based on unusual situations and unusual stuff in usual context....do you act the same in your life?
No, not exactly. Although my appearance and living style is relatively uncommon compare to other Chinese people, the realistic life is still realistic. My models and I all take the metro of this city, buy a pack of cigarettes at a street stands, or do other common things. But I found that we all have a extremely colorful self inside ourselves. After my models put on the clothes, which I designed, the power of their performance in my lens is always surprised me. They are especially unique and wonderful in front of my lens. Those uncommon circumstances you mentioned are just some ordinary scenes as well, but nobody else found the special aspect. My lens has activated such special atmosphere. That is to say, the special things always exist but it's difficult for us to differentiate and illuminate their true beauty.
*five words that describe your work? And five for your land?

My Work: Creativity / Photography / Drama / Dream / Inner world of my heart
My homeland: Romantic / Heavy / Great / Decay of culture / Flourish of Economy
*Can you tell us a memory from your childhood?
My father is a very famous drama director, he is very arty and bad-tempered. My mother is also a very famous actress in China. She is the star made by entertainment culture, not that arty. There is to say that I was born in a very excellent family. I have a sister, 11 years older than me. She was given birth when my parents were young, and was cultivated to be outstanding. She's quite smart, and inherited the beautiful faces from my parents. The time that I was born was the Culture Revolution of China. Both my parents got hard blow and lived painfully. Father was in prison and seriously ill, therefore mom was fag at looking after the family. I remembered that the lights of my home were always dark, and I was grown up in such darkness. I was ugly and short at that time, additionally my study grades wasn't good. So I was always humble, dislike to talk, and always dreamt that I suddenly grow up in silence. Thus, I was getting used to the loneliness of my heart, and owned the independent spiritual world.

Portrait of Mephisto

Mephisto said: you can only shape yourself by your own action. You must keep on creating. Only during the creation, the model of the mysterious beauty would recur. Everything has to start from nothing, from listening to the rhythmical sound in the darkness… You won’t be able to be God of endless spiritual experience. The attracting mind, the saddest appreciation, the obsessed abhorrence, the pleasant disgust, all won’t be able to change you. You'll finally find out:  what you are will eventually be what you are...(Faust)

 

Maleonn's portrait

*And from your school days?
When I was 12 years old, I was sent to a professional fine art school because I painted quite well. Since then I've been studied painting over 11years until I graduated from my college. Drawing is a turning point of my character because it doesn't need to talk, could be finished in silence. I do love painting, and probably because of my talent on painting, my study grades of painting are quite good. Therefore I became self-confident gradually. When I was in my college, China has just ended the period of chaos, and started to fast develop. Both my father and mother came back to the art stage. They are so outstanding, even my mom had become a famous TV star at that time. Therefore I was the kid of the stars, grew up taller and more handsome, additionally my paintings lessons were outstanding; I became the favorite one of all the teachers and female classmates. My college time was always full of happiness. Of course all the male classmates dislike me.
*How has been your first kiss?
When I was 17, one 3-year-older girl who's the student of drama kissed me on her own initiative. I was completely not ready for that, was very nervous. I couldn't even remember any detail, haha (laugh).
*Eastern world is pretty scared by the potential economic Chinese power... does it has to be scared by Chinese artists too?
Chinese artist should be self-confident. We have very mysterious and strong ancient culture, although lots of the beautiful things have already disappeared, some inviolable Romanism spirit still exists in our blood. The Chinese has the power of spirit to become the international artist. But we don't have the material possibility because of all kinds of reason in our country in the past. For example, I hadn't even touched camera before I was 18. Now I have many cameras, and have some money to support my sophisticated photograph works. But, whether the Chinese artists would become the threat in other people's eyes, that's non of my business, I have no idea.
*How far is China from Europe?
I don't know the exact geographic distance, which is supposed to be remote. But for spirit, that's not that far. Lots of friends come from Europe like my works very much. I think they understand my work, we have something in common in some our spirits. Although I've never been to the Europe, my wife is living and studying in France at present. She said she got used to there. Too many Chinese people are there, that's why many countries have set up complex obstacles of the Visa to go to their countries. I've love to go to see her, but the application is too troublesome. I lost my patience. So she made the trip back to see me. From this angle, the distance really exists.
*How is being a photographer in a communist land?
Nowadays, The political situation of China is still socialism. But for the concrete life, the feeling of politics is vague. At least I haven't felt any special pressure. I don't care for politics, and my works is far from the politics as well. So my life should be no large difference from the photographers of other countries. Shanghai is the most westernized city of China. The foreigners made old buildings of this city in the past. Now the commercial prosperity has formed the speeding westernizing of this city. I have a lot of friends come from all over the world. I never feel we're different.
*The most important moment in your life?
I think it should be my birthday. For myself, the most important thing is that I began to exist from that moment.
*How will be human beings in the future? Will they look more like aliens or like a clown?
I've read some scientific articles, which said that the scientists guessed the human being in the future would be more like the aliens. But I wish to be more like the clown. I prefer the clown.:) The life of human beings would inevitably become more complex and hard. But we like the easy staff.
*Where in your body do you find your photos?
According to scientific statement, that's from my brain. But in Chinese tradition, those photos are from my heart.
*What's true and what's fake in your photos?
Those clearly creative works are all true, they are from my observation of the life and the world, from my real thinking. Some portrait works, inevitably a little fake, especially for women, always a little artificial, because i know that women all love to be looked more beautiful in the photo. But also for this reason, I seldom use female models. I dislike the fake feeling.
*The most difficult photo you've ever shot (both from a technical and emotional point of view)?
When I took pictures for my 93-year-old grandmother, I saw the senescence in the lens, the huge shadow of the disappearing life, and the endless sad. When i press the shutter, I felt painful. Because I wish to accurately grasp this sense of pain, but the model is my grandmother who was gallantly attentive for me since i was born, I didn't take those too direct works gradually. I'm too sensitive, and don't own the capacity to shoot those works. That is an obstacle which is hard to overcome emotionally. From technical point, I think nothing is specially hard.
*When you shoot do you want to portrait reality or your inner world or what else?
It's my inner world. The moments in my works really have been existed in my fantasy. Sometimes I painted them one day before shooting. I painted so quickly even surprised myself sometimes. They are so clear in my mind that every detail exists there. I'd love to imagine and thinking all the day. I believe that I have a complete world inside my heart. With my 30 years growing, this world is being constructed more and more complex. What I'm doing is to turn the images of this world into reality, that's all.
*What's the border between art and commercial works?
My principle is that the artworks is the works to please myself, the point is to make myself happy, no matter whether the works would become the products of the gallery in the future, or be used in commercial advertisement. Many of my works are like that, but I believe they are still my artworks. But the commercial works is to please other guys' taste, is made according to other guys' requirements, the point is to please the clients.
*Is it important in your artworks Chinese popular tradition?
I don't feel that's important for me. But I noticed that my works have every strong brand of Chinese culture that is not conscious. I was born and grew up in this country, of course my works is inevitably a Chinese's works. My works is full of some cultural spirit and taste of Chinese culture, which makes my works complete.
*Shanghai is both traditional and modern, the perfect city for you?
I don't like Shanghai very much, but I was born in the city which isn't that Chinese. There's no power of the Chinese culture that I like. That's why I feel the city isn't perfect; it's too modern and western, only a little tradition on the surface. For example: Shanghai is like a beautiful flower in a vase, although there's plenty of water and nutrients to support the ever beauty, this flower is without root, and couldn't grow better.
*Can you tell me -in a few words- you favorite Chinese fairy tale?
is an ancient Chinese fairy tale, a child whose name was Ma Liang got a magical brush. All the things that he painted by this brush would become true. He painted lots of interesting things and helped lots of people who need support and punished bad guys as well. That's a wonderful story. The funny thing is, my Chinese name is exactly the same as the boy. My parent so named me maybe was to wish I could be such a magical guy.

here are some more works by Maleonn:

from Book of Taboo (2005)

from deja vu (2005)

from Midsummer Night's Dream (2007)

from my circus (2004)

bio of Maleonn

1972
Born in Shanghai

1984-1995
Shanghai Huashan Art School
Attached High School of Fine Art College of Shanghai University
Graduated from Fine Art College of Shanghai University, Major in Graphic Design

1995-2003
Engaged in commercial film as Art director and Director

2004-
Engaged in independent Creation of Art

Lives and works in Shanghai, China

from Postman (2008)

sources:

Maleonn, duht

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  • friend
    lucio carvalho | 2008-05-01 21:42:11

    I loooved your bizarre and bealtiful photos!!!!!! congratulations.

  • friend
    Monsieur X | 2008-05-01 22:26:43

    I like Circus and portrait of Mesphisto, is interesting ! Monsieur X

  • friend
    Flagiore | 2010-11-04 20:56:25

    At least funny...he knows something about composition and colours also...

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