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Heaven and Hell- Cissy Qian (IB-HL) - 3D virtual exhibition by BCIS SS Visual Art -2020

Heaven and Hell- Cissy Qian (IB-HL)

Fri, 04/17/2020 to Tue, 06/16/2020

curated by:

The theme of my work revolves around the concept of “heaven and hell”. There are many ways that one could approach the concept of heaven and hell, from the ornate paintwork adorning Renaissance Era chapels to modern visuals of demons and angels, the visual spectrum that could be used is very broad, and is somewhat up to personal interpretation. Taking “heaven and hell” out of religious contexts, personally, I believe there are many visual ways of defining “heaven” and “hell”. However, the most commonly accepted emotions that are associated with heaven and hell are usually “kindness, purity,” as well as “wrongdoing and hatred” respectfully. I also realize that the terms are different depending on the circumstances that the person was raised in and their experiences from life. Due to the wide societal divide, one persons reality could be another person’s heaven, which influences the imagery that each person associates with the terms “heaven” and “hell”.

My work aims to showcase heaven and hell using many different symbols and viewpoints, however they all respond to the theme through the emotions that it brings the viewer. I was inspired to explore this theme because as I grow older I continue to wonder if anything is truly black and white, hence heaven and hell. I was also inspired by complex imagery used in music that allude to heaven but are in reality describing hell. Furthermore, as I grow older, the line between right and wrong grows more certain, and I find myself searching for how I can represent goodness and make the right decisions. However, as I grow and experience more, my perception of heaven and hell also blur as well. Sometimes we experience things that may seem “hellish” but in reality is setting up our path towards happiness and our goals. Furthermore, depending on various experiences and ages, the concept of “heaven” and “hell” differs from one person to the next. Thus, this led me to think, how do we materialize concepts such as “heaven” and “hell” because they are so different from one individual to the next? Thus, I decided to use various symbols, complemented with color and composition, to express different emotions that I personally associate with “heaven” and “hell”. For example, I have explored motifs taken from greek mythology such as angels and demons that are directly related to my theme. Furthermore, I have also used color to represent my understanding of “heaven” and “hell”. To represent goodness and purity, I chose brighter colors to represent “heaven”. To represent wrongdoing and sadness, I chose more grayscale, monochromatic colors.

Representing my understanding of my chosen concept, I aim to showcase 8 works in total, 4 representing heaven and 4 representing hell. Not only does it represent a balance between the two, it also represents my understanding of reality, because there is no absolute residing in one or the other. For my selection of 8 works, I include both direct imagery that would commonly be utilized in children’s narratives, as a representation of my understanding of “heaven” and “hell” when I was younger, as well as more complex imagery, which represents how the concept of “heaven” and “hell” blurs and varies depending on a person’s situation. The works are exhibited according to their own themes (“heaven and hell”), which help the viewer understand my theme at first glance and give them time to ponder over the different symbols and meanings. Through my arrangement of the artwork, I aim to give a strong visual impact and a sense of separation to the audience. Because the colors and motifs that are represented in each collection are distinct and vivid, I aim to present the viewer with a stark contrast between “heaven” and “hell”. Through the shock impact, the viewer is able to process distinctly different emotions, hence calling forward their own perception of “heaven” and “hell”. This way, I am able to use color and symbolism to call forth a concept, and place it back into the viewers head in the form of emotions, which can be interpreted freely by the viewer’s mind.

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