/ The Way of Seeing


Seeing comes before words. The child looks and recognizes before it can speak. But there is also another sense in which seeing comes before words. It is seeing which establishes our place in the surrounding world; we explain that world with words, but words can never undo the fact that we are surrounded by it... By reference to an episode from a well-known literature Ways of seeing written by John Berger (1972), it is pointed that the relation between what we see and what we know is never settled.

Robert Pan was born in 1969 in Bolzano, Italy. An ancient town, Bolzano has experienced occupation since the Middle Ages by the Romans, the Lombards, Germans and Italians. Today, Bolzano is a commercial city with various religions. Its population consists of German, Italian and Latin language speakers. Robert Pan’s work is never a reflection of his internal rational thinking but a result of creating impossible-to-predict visual effects by way of his self-developed materials and semi-automatic techniques. The visual effects that cannot be predicted have somehow served as a rational reflection of the external world.

The mixed media series in Robert Pan’s early works, e.g., PASQUA/EASTER/OSTERN (EASTER, 1990/91), COLLOQUIO III (DIALOGUE, 1993), and TAVOLO ROSSO (A MEAL OF RED GRAPES, 1997/2000), feature an accumulation of religious symbols, faces and sight memories. His AKASHA series (2000-2005) encompasses extraction of color expression and calligraphic symbols and textures. Over the past decade, Pan’s work contains an embodiment of planets and numerology at its core. A look at the artist’s progress for the past decade raises the question as to whether these works conceptualized before us will serve as a reminder of the issues in today’s civilization development, while they do propose a perspective that transcends the boundaries between ethnics, regions, religions and ideals. The process of seeing is not limited to one-sided reception or an isolated and restrictive definition, but instead, should stimulate a dialogue between both parties. Such qualities can be seen in Robert Pan’s work.

This exhibition is conceptualized over “The Way of Seeing”. We are grateful to the artist, Robert Pan, and his discussion with Ms. Sunny as the cornerstone for the exhibition. Gratitude is also extended to the team consisting of Wolfgang Hass, Roman Pachernegg, Wolfgang Scheikl and Helmut Feier for the documentary production and authorization.

Today, we still remember Robert Pan:“I don’t believe in inspiration. I would describe it as a discipline. A continuous discipline, starting from 8 o’clock at the morning, like any other work... I work with resin; it is a very noble material. It is the end product of the petroleum… always materials that come from the ground. I believe I am a grounded, earthy person… the picture lives by itself, and it does not need the artist. What makes me happy, is being like when I was a child, and seeing something without knowing how it comes about. La meraviglia, the amazement. ”

©《AKASHA》Robert Pan

©《AKASHA》Robert Pan