The Fourth Pleasure
The Fourth Pleasure delves into a scrolling landscape of the imagination, informed by the art historical, the literary, and the philosophical. Auspicious symbols, visual rebuses, painters and wandering poets populate a scholar’s garden under a full moon. This scene is a utopia, a no-place, that has been reiterated in constantly shifting ways throughout the centuries within the tradition of Chinese landscape painting. Leong’s body of work inverts the traditional approach to the idealised paysage metamorphosing it into an uneasy dream where the dark encroaches in unexpected ways. Headless statues of Daoist immortals re-embody themselves with fantastical stones, becoming one with nature, while invisible tigers hunt the utopian ideal manifested as bats and deer.
This body of work incorporates some of the iconographies, symbolism, and artistic idioms that inform Chinese landscape painting. They include the Four Gentlemen, the Three Friends of Winter, the Five Blessings, and the Six Harmonies, culminating in the Fourth Pleasure - painting - here evinced as the image of the artist himself peering out into the abyss in the final panel of the show’s eponymous painting.