Artstrology: Scorpio 2021, Deep Sea
By Pamela Wong
For Scorpio, 2021 signifies internal transformation, mostly triggered by changes in relationships with romantic partners or colleagues. While these shifts brought Scorpios much frustration in the first half of the year, the rest of 2021 will be brighter.
The realm of Scorpio, the most intense water sign, can be likened to the deep sea—an uncharted territory inhabited by mysterious creatures. To survive in the darkness and detect danger, these animals usually develop hypersensitive organs and can move in all directions. This analogy might help us understand why mature Scorpios can navigate multiple, complex stimuli with emotional intelligence.
Demonstrating the hypersensitivity of Scorpios toward their surroundings, Singaporean artist Alvin Ong presented contemporary human conditions, including emotions, in his latest exhibition "In My Head," which showcased a series of 108 portraits painted in 2020–21. The figures in his paintings are stretched by their environment in different directions, or are immersed in internal conflicts. In one painting, the bodies of two lovers are overlaid, as if their souls are conversing with each other in an intimate act; in another, a drunken man falls asleep in front of a pint of beer, almost melting into the pink-hued background. In a self-portrait, the face is doubled and distorted, as if the artist is torn internally by two selves. These surreal depictions fuse the external with the internal, accentuating the relationship between body and soul, and drawing viewers into different moods.
Scorpio’s acute sensations of the environment are also reflected in Chu Teh-Chun’s abstract works. One can not only glimpse landscapes in his paintings, but also experience the atmosphere and spirits of different seasons or times of day. For instance, the delightfulness and brightness of morning is captured in Morning Dew (2006); the milky colors of dawn exude calm in Nuances de l'aube (1998); and a profound sorrow and solitude is elicited in a scene of snow and mountains in Harmonie hivernale (1986). These sensations gradually lead Scorpios toward understandings of the universe and establishing their own integrated worldview, just as how Chu began to study the Book of Changes in the late 1960s. His skillful use of light and shade embody the idea of yin and yang, as he explained at Académie Française in 1999: “The two infinite variations of yin and yang in the philosophy of the Book of Changes present two fundamental and mutually reinforcing elements: yang is hot and bright, and yin is dark and moist. This duality gives rise to the infinite universe, while it also integrates bright colors and free forms in Western abstract paintings.”
As Scorpio season can bring out the stubbornness in all of us, beware not to get stuck in your own head. Scorpio is the last fixed sign in 2021, meaning it can bring a close to the drama of the year. Now is a great chance to channel Scorpio’s nimbleness to reorient oneself for a new stage in life.
This article is written for entertainment purposes only.
Pamela Wong is ArtAsiaPacific’s assistant editor.
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