Duan Jianyu: The Foam of Days




“Duan Jianyu: The Foam of Days” extends an inviting expanse of paper space, allowing us to experience the artistic journey of Duan Jianyu from 2017 to 2022.

There is a correspondence within Duan Jianyu’s recent work between settings, postures, allusions and transformations of paintings within paintings, the arrangement of objects within paintings, and the multiplicity suggested within spatial structures: between desire and its absence, between the potentiality of narrative and the language of poetry, between the performativity of imagery and the agency of the painting itself, Duan Jianyu maintains a highly circumspect perspective. She suspends us between fiction and corporeal reality, such that the painting can no longer easily become a tool of realizing or awakening desire. This also implies that the imagery of these paintings ultimately establishes a profound relationship of “not-requesting and not-desiring” with us, thereby creating the possibility of vital exchange at our deepest levels of need.

In this richly dialectical approach to painting, the artwork goes beyond the mere exposition of reality’s nuances to form a dynamic reciprocity between its own visual language and the bodily experience of the viewer. These works of art express the due inclusivity of coexistence, which facilitates the potentially epiphanic emergence of the basic conditions of life on a primeval and elemental level.

Duan Jianyu’s work is diversely interesting. Like Balzac, she portrays a contemporary Comédie humaine, engaging with all forms of life within the mortal world, as well as the refugees who traverse the boundaries between the human and the inhuman. Here, the formal process of painting echoes the diversity of life within the universe, fumbling about in search of togetherness.


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Duan Jianyu: The Foam of Days

Concept: The Pavilion
Designer: maf-works.com
Language: English and Chinese
Size: 36 × 25 cm
Pages : 105 (color)
Year: 2022
The Pavilion
©2022 The Pavilion


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[About the Artist]

Danh Vo was born in Bà Rja, Vietnam, in 1975. Vo’s family fled the country in a homemade boat when he was four years old, the vessel was rescued at sea by a Danish freighter. Danh Vo grew up in Denmark, studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (1998-2002) in Copenhagen and the Städelschule (2002-2005) in Frankfurt. He lives in Mexico City and is currently working on a farm-housing project outside of Berlin in Güldenhof. His artistic practices often address issues relating to identity and belonging, authority, ownership, the role of personal relationships and other conditions that define human existence in contemporary time.


Image and Text: The Pavilion, ©Authors, The Pavilion, 2022