Colourful Gyroscope is the first complete work Sun Lei has completed since his graduation last year. The piece also represents his debut in Beijing.
Colourful Gyroscope is a free flow of images that suggests a stream of consciousness. There is no story as such, just a dreamlike unfolding of scenes, each of which circulates around a specific emotion, conveyed through the most simple of actions, gestures or games, and all enacted by one germane youth. The impulses that drive Sun Lei’s expression seem largely to revolve around childhood games, both in Hula Hoop and in this new work. We find many symbols that carry a deeper, almost Freudian meaning: the ladder that implies a stairway to heaven, an escape from reality and the pursuit of aspirations but offers no finite conclusions as to what these might be or the destination sought. In most of the scenes where figures appear, the figure is a young man much, we suspect, like Sun Lei himself. The solitary boy is rarely without a ‘twin’. Sun Lei describes the relationship between the two as of friends, buddies, but says that they also represent different aspects of the same personality, the same person. To the viewer they might also suggest the imaginary friends of childhood, who are usually styled upon ourselves or the sort of person we would most like to be.
Colourful Gyroscope carries us into a realm of pure fantasy but that has its roots in a familiar reality, even if this is the reality of the imagination in all its pure-toned glory. There is no narrative of a formal kind, only a focus instead on a sequence of emotional states. The choice of the four screens to present simultaneous sequences of the work serves to reinforce this aspect of the animation. Sun Lei’s goal here is to achieve an added depth and dimension to the pictorial space as the eye roves from one monitor to another. In his works, the juxtaposition of the four screens “allows the viewer understand that there is no beginning or end here. You can choose a screen to watch at random. You don’t have to watch the whole thing all at once.” Yet, the very format of the presentation means that viewers will want to watch it again and again.