Danish painter Vilhelm Hammershøi was known to be shy, quiet, reclusive, and never quite keeping pace with the revolutionary movements of his time. His interiors are so subdued that they stand out on gallery walls when surrounded by paintings of his contemporaries, most of which are blossoming with colour.
His art, however, didn’t always have a place on these walls.
The model minority myth, or, “Asian stereotypes”—they are usually something along the lines of strict parents and “good at x,” where x may be any possible subject you can think of. As someone with an Asian background, I can attest that we sure do get a good laugh out of them—the former stereotype because it is pretty accurate, the latter because it is most certainly not, at least according to the aforementioned parents,
…and consequently, ourselves.
The elaborate polyphony and ornamentation of Baroque music. The innumerable strokes and saturated colours of an oil painting. The meticulous turn of argument in a sonnet’s volta. This is perhaps what makes up the European “sublime” that, mesmerically and almost overwhelmingly, leaves us frozen in awe.
So perhaps you may wonder, what is there to listen to in a piece of music with only a single melody line? To see in a painting that is only a few strokes in monotonous ink? To read in a poem composed of short, standalone lines of simple imagery?
And yet, these artworks are praised to might as well be the epitome of Chinese art.