Petals of a metaphor

Updated: 2014-10-21 07:17

By Xu Fan(China Daily)

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Three halls on the museum's second floor display the paper and oil paintings of sunflowers, while 18 colored sunflower-shaped glaze lamps glitter on the ground outside the rooms.

Xu reveals that about 80 percent of the works are being displayed for the first time in Beijing, adding that the show commemorates the 11 years of his sunflower painting. The remaining paintings and installations have been exhibited in a few cities, including Hangzhou, Shanghai, Germany's Koblenz and Washington.

His decadelong fascination with sunflowers started from an unexpected glance at an abandoned sunflower garden on a plain near the Sea of Marmara, during a 2003 tour of Turkey.

"The sunflowers there looked like they were made of cooper and iron, and stood lonely in the ruins. They reminded me of our fates," Xu recalls.

The artist reveals that his fondness of sunflowers even pushes him to protect the plant at his college.

"My students used to raise an artificially cultivated species of sunflower, named 'pig slave', on the grounds of our campus. It could only grow to as high as 40 centimeters. The wild sunflowers grow to an average height of 2 meters," Xu says.

"It betrayed the true nature of sunflowers. I forbade them to grow such a species on campus. The plants deserve respect and should grow in their own way."

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