Minimalism “is what I learned from Lao Tzu. I am more and more committed to it.”

Born: Nanchong, Sichuan, 1963

After moving to Switzerland upon her marriage in 1987, Luo Mingjun began to miss China. Stimulated by the wintry whiteness of her new home, that nostalgia revivified the artist’s memories of childhood; it also prompted her to read Chinese literature and philosophy with new eyes. She was particularly inspired by the Dao de Jing of Lao Tzu. The drawings in the Yesterday series (2006-2007) are based on snapshots of the artist and her school friends, their details bleached out to suggest the way memories are faded by time. Luo Mingjun copied the small original photos freehand, then scanned each sketch, projected it briefly onto a large art paper, marked a few key points, and redrew the image guided by the photo and her memory alone. In the final works, substance is generated by emptiness. Except for hair and eyes, the human figures are blanks, their contours, facial expressions, even personalities implied by shadows alone. As Lao Tzu says: “Doors and windows are cut out to make a house; its usefulness depends on these empty spaces.”

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