Matter over Mind
Cheung Man-Ling’s work is impossible to pin down, being made up of unidentifiable colours, texture, materials, and images. Enigmatic in the extreme, his art comes from his willingness to surrender forethought and direction to the painting itself.
“When your artwork contains true meaning and value, it needs no words or explanations. By looking at the painting alone, one can understand and feel what it is trying to communicate,” he says. “I hope that in seeing and understanding the painting, a person enters into their inner self.”
Cheung believes that the fusion of different materials in mixed media is the only way in which his intent and philosophies of art can be property expressed. Cheung hopes to invest his soul into his artwork in order to discover and explore the many “folds” of his humanity through innovation and creativity in his painting.
“Every time I make art, it is a process of conflict, struggle and understanding. By doing it, I am unfolding the mysteries of life of myself.” He says. “When I experiment and discover a new method of painting something, or create a new use for materials, it is the same as finding an explanation for something that has been troubling me.” He adds.
“Painting is how I express myself, how I come to terms with life, how I understand the world.” he continues.
Not surprisingly, he describes his artwork as very “instinctual and unplanned”. Controlled imagery and traditional depiction does not suit one who claims to “trust my instincts entirely in painting. I listen carefully to myself and try to get in touch with the innermost part of myself. That is where the painting is coming from, where it cannot be controlled.”
When asked to explain his work for the layman, Cheung shrugs evasively and claims he does not intend to impose upon others the lessons he has gained from his exercises in self-exploration. “The paintings are about me. There is no reason why it should mean anything to others,” he says. “The only thing I hope for others to gain by looking at my work is that it may arouse intrigue and curiosity in them, and then, from that, they will be inspired to embark on their own discoveries.”
South China Morning Post 2001