"DETACHED ABSTRACT" Wang Yigang Solo Exhibition
City: Beijing
Duration: 2017-05-21 ~ 2017-06-18
Opening: 2017.05.21 4:00 PM
Venue: SpaceStation
Address: NO.4 Jiuxianqiao Rd, 798 Art District, Beijing
Participating Artist(s): Wang Yigang

Detached Abstract: Wang Yigang Solo Exhibition

Guo Fang

The Space Station is honored to announcethat Detached Abstract: Wang Yigang Solo Exhibition will be held during May 21- June 18, 2017. The exhibition will display the abstract works created in recentyears by Wang Yigang, who is a professor at Luxun Academy of Fine Arts, and thecurator of the affiliated art museum.

Expressionism, emphasizing theindividuality and subjective perspective of artists, and opposing objectiverepresentation in modernist movement, was an art movement originated in Germanyat the beginning of 20th Century. Expressionist artists, applying bold colors, andstrong brushstrokes, relinquishing the harmony of the pictures, seeking forexaggeration, deformation, and destruction etc., expressed their emotions inany suitable language, which reflected the social and political crises ofGermany and Europe before and after the First World War. After the breaking ofWorld War II, abstract expressionism (also known as the New York School, actionpainting), as the first American art movement, which combined expressionism withabstract, and which, by emphasizing self-expression and pure conception in art,opposed illusions made by figurative painting, and the traditional aestheticsand logic, found an echo in surrealism and abstract art school (such as Cubism,Futurism and the Bauhaus). Abstract expressionism is divided into expressive abstract(Jackson Pollock, Willem De Kooning) and color-field painting (Mark Rothko, BarnettNewman). The former, strongly and directly expressing emotions, works byapplying the concept of surrealism unconsciousness, contingency, and automatism,while the latter inherited the mantle of cubism and abstractionism, usingsimple and uniform color to show the sympathy of inner feelings.

Wang’s creation springs from the study of abstractexpressionism, but it is not a redevelopment of appropriation, for westernabstract expressionism, influenced by western philosophy, and the progress ofscience and technology at the time, has its profound historical origin; and humaninstinct was recalled after the two World Wars’ devastation of civilization, abstractexpressionism, therefore, was also influenced by Jung’s theory of thecollective unconscious, which explained how this unconsciousness, implying thecollective human memory, arouses a motive power to construct myth, philosophy,and science.

However, in the 1980s, the development ofabstract expressionism in China lost those backgrounds. While Wang’s artisticcreation began in that period, the abstract art in the West had its developmentby means of learning from oriental cultures, such as the “Japanese calligraphy.”At that time China just navigated its way through the Cultural Revolution,entering a new historical period of reform and opening-up. The introduction ofabstract expressionism into China, maintained an alienated relationship to orientalculture, lost its historical heritage in the West. It might be said that thosereferences are merely references in terms of the form of the language, paintingstyle etc., for there are distinct differences between Chinese artists andwestern ones in qualities, humanity backgrounds, and characters of civilization.There must be a loss of information in the sprout and development of Chinese abstractexpressionism -- incomplete literature, even some misunderstandings -- but thiskind of “incompleteness” might bring new possibilities for the development ofabstract expressionism in China.

Abstract art, whose main concern is to usevisual images to show the spirit, music, strength, relations, laws of natureand other things invisible, has now become an international language of painting.It has always been a challenge for artists to perform things unseen. As to thesolution, people have been inclined to use abstract techniques before theformation of abstract art, such as telling fairy tales and spreading religiousbeliefs... Interestingly, most of these unrepresentable ideas will crossnational boundaries and language barriers, allowing some artists to becomemasters of mixing the materials of business science and pseudo-science in theircreations.

Wang was immersed in two entirely differentaesthetic worlds: the abstract expressionism spirit of Western art and the Zenspirit of Oriental art. He tried to create an abstract art form based on hisown experiences, and adhered to the absolute independence in creation methods, andwith “the hope to find orders in destruction” continued to face challenges from“negative” to “positive” and then to “negative.” Establishing or regeneratingin criticism, the course of painting, for him, has actually become a part ofthe work. The artist must seek after more accurate expressions of technologyand language of the inner world, meeting the necessity in accidental,criticizing the given order, and seek for a fitting point linking his spiritualworld in the dialogue with the material world.

Academic artists in China are often apt to getinto a rut of the systematic study of western classical aesthetics. Wang, instead,at the beginning of creation, realized that the utmost achievement his worksmight reach is to become an extra story, a Sinicized pattern of Westernabstract expressionism, sprung from the Western abstract art if only to simply repeatthe form, media, language and so on in western abstract expressionism. HowChina’s abstract art can base itself on the local cultural standpoint? How it canreturn to its own logic of the development of art history, and defend its owncultural identity? Wang, at the very beginning, chose the inherent aestheticlogic that rebels against the academic, and even sought new breakthroughs insome uncomfortable places, rather than fallen into the vortex of classicalvisual experience. Influenced by modern science and technology, expressionistshave long ceased to believe that objective things persist in a fixed andcomplete state; and they wish to express the purely spiritual world in purelyabstract artistic language.

There, in Wang’s recent works, can be foundan intense energy tumbling in the strokes’ movement, surging poetically, or carryinga fierce turbulence, or suddenly self-sustained. He poured a lot of paints onthe canvas, and savored the pain and pleasure of life and death in the strugglewith the canvas, and experienced the creation and the meaning of life in thenumerous smearing. His daily alterations would prove that life is still goingon. These paintings evoke from one’s personal memory some special and strongfragments, the fragments of angry, cruelty, searching, and frustration, whichbrings us into a kind of being indifferent beside frank, real, and directexperiences. His paintings are sometimes aggressive, compelling, sometimesnaughty and frank, revealed the nature of emotions. Art, for him, has beenperceived in a process; and the instant feelings are filled with certaineternal meanings, which are the evidence of the existence of the individual andspirit. The contest of art goes beyond national boundaries, styles, andlanguages. The problems that can the artworks immediately impress people, and infectpeople, making a deep impression, and bringing about innovations in aestheticconceptions and techniques are problems artists have to face every day. Like KazuoShiraga’s understanding of abstract art in the spirit of Zen, Wang’s DetachedAbstract paintings had fled from the narrative language and positivism world, whichthe logic of art history rarely mentioned: grand vision has no set design. Hisart is his life; and every minute of his feelings is engraved on his work,which is a real release and everlasting intoxication. The feeling of presence maybe the ultimate motif that abstract expressionism art is to express.


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[Editor] 张艳