When looking at Gao Yan’s painting, readers can always feel that a burst of warm wind of the early summer has been blown by one’s side at the moment, where the old memories slip through the fingers in a flash. It’s hard to believe she’s just under 25 years old, as her works are so poetic, subtle and nostalgic. She has even touched the heart of Japanese literary master Haruki Murakami.
In 2019, she was invited to serialize her drawings in Japan, and her works was accidentally seen by Haruki Murakami’s book designer, who thought that her painting style and the atmosphere of the new book were matched. Even though the two had never met before, one occasional opportunity have led to this collaboration. Murakami describes her as “out of nowhere in her images, with an uncanny sense of familiarity and nostalgia.”
In the middle of the boundless sandbar, a boy with a book was sitting alone in the cardboard box with his knees bent. This is the cover Gao Yan painted for Murakami’s new book “Abandoning Cat: About Father, the Things I Want to say”. There are 13 illustrations in total, two of which are based on photos provided by Murakami.
Each of her illustrations seems to contain a story, but there are actually no fixed answers in her works. Readers can interpret them at will, or even put their own emotions in the paintings. She said: “I don’t want to say anything. I hope that the readers interpret them for yourself.”
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Photo courtesy of the artist
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