Embroidered Shoes    

Ink on Rice Paper
Plane Painting

A Record of Embroidered Shoes
Xu Lei

    Peng Wei’s embroidered shoes are full of this kind of wrapping, and these types of veils. Those very small broken pieces of exterior decoration are almost the entirety of the joy in her work. The mesh fabric, brocade, strings of beads, silk ribbons, ruffles, gold and silver leaf, feathers, stiletto heels, with embroidered butterflies, scrolling, peach leaves, vines, pomegranates, beautiful flowers are all enchanting. Even though the works use colored ink to signify the embroidered shoes’ original states, a certain kind of self-satisfied mood and slight tantalization is still obvious at a glance.
    The painted Shoes embody theatrical expression, unpredictable and confusing, a little like another performance in makeup.  The void is an essential presence, but decorating this void is using the laws of beauty to hint at something that once existed but is already lost. This was originally pleasurable, but is there a still more important motive? In Remembrances: The Experience of Past in Classical Chinese Literature, Stephen Owen said, “This is a piece of magical cloth, and the images embroidered on it protect her, to prevent the violation of the desire it covers, or, in other words, on it is embroidered the image of the desire she seeks to conceal.”
    In Poem Styles, the Tang Dynasty critic Si Kongtu said, “There is a true work, but it is unknowable. One thinks of an image, but it has already become strange.” Over-expounding on this group of Peng Wei’s works is perhaps uninteresting as a result. If a center of meaning exists for her, it is better that it revolves inwards, returning to the initial abyss. At this moment, we can only firmly believe in the delicate mist before our eyes, the language itself, which is, as Roland Barthes said, “without a precious heart, without a buried power, without a vital secret.” Thus, the symbolic meaning of Shoes is clear as crystal, when this kind of thinking has been fixed by Peng Wei’s forms on paper. Since “embroidered shoes” cannot be limited to the complete appearance of Shoes, they also cannot be limited to the complete meaning of the concept of Shoes. However, in any case, Shoes always used this as a starting point. If the consciousness of the critic has interfered too much, and Shoes only makes people think of shoes, then they are re-obtaining their lost position and nothing more.