Peeking opera
February 17, 2007 4:56 AM   Subscribe

With apologies to the European masters [ARTY NUDITY] Beijing photographer 潘鉞 (Pan Yue) recreates some famous European paintings in a Beijing Opera style. Other series by yer man: Farmers in Opera costume, Secret Opera Main link via.
posted by Abiezer (20 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I thought it was nifty, and my wife who is an art geek thought it was utterly fantastic. She also managed to identify every one of them from the photograph.
posted by sotonohito at 5:11 AM on February 17, 2007

Great post! Interesting how the Farmers in Opera costume look so wrong: they're in the costumes and they have the makeup, but they don't have the look, the theatrical attitude, to pull it off. Of course, that's what makes those photos so interesting. And the Secret Opera link, those are some of the most pleasing examples of nude art photography I've seen in a long time.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:17 AM on February 17, 2007

flapjax - it says in the text at the 'Farmers' link that some of Pan's subjects were rural performers in county opera troupes, and some just villagers taking part in amateur dramatic-type efforts at festival times. I reckon I could have a guess which were which.
posted by Abiezer at 5:24 AM on February 17, 2007

Ahh, Abiezer, there you go again, you Chinese-readin' so-and-so... ;-)

You gotta start providing translations for some of these Chinese sites, man, so we can make some educated coments about this stuff! Anyway, thanks again for the post!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:35 AM on February 17, 2007

I saw a performance of Beijing Opera when I was in Beijing in 2004. It was a bit of an endurance-spectator-sport (I think ours ran 4 hours or so), but it was also one of the great spectacles I've seen. If you (anyone) ever has a chance to go, I would very much recommend it.
posted by Slothrop at 5:49 AM on February 17, 2007

Lovely! I'm definitely passing this on to a few people.
posted by piratebowling at 6:02 AM on February 17, 2007

There is a bit of biographical background on Pan I thought of translating but was too lazy to, but since you ask I am goaded into action (any excuse to show off):
Pan Yue 潘钺 was born 1968 in Beijing to a Manchu family. Studied oil painting at the Central Academy of Art, graduating with a Masters' in 1992. Had some exhibitions of his paintings in the '90s and worked with a gallery in Taiwan, regularly showing work in Taipei. Went to Paris in 2000 for six months study at the Académie des Beaux-Arts (?). Has been teaching art at the Forestry University in Beijing since 1992.
The blurb is by an old classmate of his, and quotes Pan as saying of the farmer's pics: "They're some of the most real of contemporary faces; so many things mixed up together - tradition and modern reality, celebration and apathy, a gorgeous exterior and a hollowness. Although they're made up, it doesn't adorn and conceal; it emphasises and refines."
So I reckon you spotted something the photographer intended flapjax.
posted by Abiezer at 6:04 AM on February 17, 2007

Interesting images, although they have fallen some way short of recreating the complexities of The Ambassadors by Holbein :)
posted by fire&wings at 7:02 AM on February 17, 2007

You gotta start providing translations for some of these Chinese sites, man, so we can make some educated coments about this stuff!

Yeah he could post them on his blog! oh wait....
posted by gomichild at 7:39 AM on February 17, 2007

I'd hate to disturb its sleep for mere content, gomi.
posted by Abiezer at 7:47 AM on February 17, 2007

This is awesome. I'd be interested to know if fire&wings is totally right here. Are any of the props/costume elements in the Chinese version iconographically analogous to the objects in the original (globe, lute, scroll, etc.)? Presumably the best joke, the fact that "holbein" means "hollow bone" and therefore "skull", is untranslatable.
posted by sy at 9:24 AM on February 17, 2007

Abiezer - google has a language translation tool.

Here is the 'Farmers' url put through it. It's not perfect, but... still, wow.

Frankly, my mind still gets blown away every time the translation tool comes through, especially when translating Chinese to English. (No snarkiness intended, if any came through, please run this post through google's forum posting desnarkifying tool.)
posted by porpoise at 9:37 AM on February 17, 2007

Heh, porpoise. That's simultaneously quite impressive and comfortingly bad. I don't think I'll be losing too much translation work to the machines just yet, but the sentence structure of Chinese isn't so far from English, so they might come up with something better soon. A friend has built this tool which is looking quite promising.
It's two hours into a very loud fire-crackering New Year here, so season's greetings to one and all.
posted by Abiezer at 9:48 AM on February 17, 2007

I get a "Server not found" error. Is there a mirror somewhere?
posted by CKZ at 11:16 AM on February 17, 2007

Marvelous post! Thanks Abiezer. What fun and an unexpected, interesting find! Love complex and beautiful culture clashes like this. Hilarious renditions and fascinating too. The world is so amazing.
posted by nickyskye at 11:23 AM on February 17, 2007

And "Peeking Opera"! Ha! :)
posted by nickyskye at 11:26 AM on February 17, 2007

OH... whoops, I guess I meant flapjax at midnite, not Abiezer. Regardless, thanks for posting these, Ab!
posted by porpoise at 11:50 AM on February 17, 2007

"it doesn't adorn and conceal; it emphasises and refines."

i had that exact same thought about most of the ladies on there. but the men seemed like the opposite.
posted by amethysts at 11:56 AM on February 17, 2007

This is awesome. In some cases, I prefered the Chinese re-make to the original paintings. (Particularly the portraits in profile - those were amazing.)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 2:47 PM on February 18, 2007

Oh, the photos are mirrored at the last link...
posted by CKZ at 12:05 AM on February 19, 2007

« Older The dolphin with the artificial fin   |   Converting Garbage into Energy Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments