Pearl Lam Galleries is pleased to present Flux, an exhibition of works by eminent artist and artistic director Wang Huangsheng, which include ink on paper, ink on newspaper, mixed media installations, and video works. Wang, who is versed in classical forms of ink, will exhibit a range of expressive artwork that exudes a sense of expansive and creative energy.
Curated by Dr. Katie Hill, Flux features Wang’s experimentation with the form of lines from the perspective of magnetism, which reinvents traditional ‘xie-yi’ painting using contemporary art language, and hints at the renewed cursive intertwining lines as a constant flux— a fluid, radiant energy in the realm of physics.
In his works, Wang presents the world as holistically or immersively inscribed in poetic terms, reflecting his inner self’s conflicting feelings when faced with complex realities. Wang wears many hats as Director of the Central Academy of Fine Arts Museum, curator, and as an artist— roles that intertwine and diverge like the lines in his paintings. Here, the Galleries showcases a selection of paintings from his Moving Visions, Lines Visions and Initiating Visions series, which he began creating in 2011. In his triptych Clue, Wang transitions from expressive xie-yi painting towards an exploration of pure formal elements in ink brush painting.
The artist’s new body of abstract paintings is characterised by the use of continuously circling lines that entangle each other and float on the paper’s surface to form an invisible radiant flux. Curator Katie Hill writes, “As a kind of continuum, [flux] contains a sense of timelessness and seems to describe a balance of forces […]. It also evokes experimental contemporary energy and a flow of movement inwards and outwards.”
Wang’s Moving Visions series was first inspired by his encounter with a mess of electric wires, while its symbolic meaning goes deeper into the artist’s daily contemplation on the complex relationship between ink brush art and new realities in society and in the contemporary art world. In his Lines Visions series, Wang applies splashes of ink and intense cursive lines onto everyday newspapers, such as ‘Reference News’ and ‘Southern Weekly’, which report on societal events, in an attempt to reveal the interplay of mass media and an ‘objective truth’. Wang experiments with a Chinese ink painting rendering technique in his new series, Vacancy Visions (2015), where he burns and presses the paper, revealing a delicate effect.
As Katie Hill puts it, “Wang Huangsheng’s series of ink paintings offer a dynamic flow of lines that move across space like a murmuration of starlings, forming a singular yet mass movement of constant harmonious rhythm. In a kind of extended form of abstract calligraphy, lines transform into squiggles and squiggles sometimes merge into denser formations of scribbles, then the scribbles become proactive non-writing or over-writing everyday political or financial events in the mundane ephemera of daily news.”
Wang continues his exploration of lines in his mixed media installations, which use various materials such as xuan paper, iron wire, glass tubes, and acrylic boxes. The works expand beyond calligraphy and graphics to investigate materiality and spatiality. Wang’s installation Seeping consists of layers of rice paper sprayed with yellow paint, and a thin iron plate standing in a pool of black water-mixed ink. Time materialises itself in this work as the traces of ink gradually seep into the rice paper. Talking is a pair of sofas made of transparent acrylic packed with iron wires inside. The contrast between the comfort of sitting and the sharpness of wires arouses a restless feeling among viewers.
Wang Huangsheng will also present a site-specific performative installation entitled Wrapping, which was first shown in Guangzhou last year. The work consists of a huge net of entangled iron wires that have been wrapped with pieces of white cloth. Wang sets the cloths on fire, carefully controlling the process to leave the wires with visible burn marks. Wang intends for the sharp contrast of materials to symbolise a conflicting attitude towards life.
Katie Hill writes, “Wang's exquisitely sensitive delicate works convey a rooted sense of being alongside a continuity of time as a constant, ever-shifting ‘presence’. With a deep connection to literary and philosophical traditions in which the human spirit is connected through brush and ink, Wang's body of work […] encapsulates the current contemporaneity in ink practice.”
In addition to his artistic practice, Wang Huangsheng has been devoted to the course of Contemporary Chinese Art History since the 1980s. He has served as the editor and publisher of various art magazines and publications, as well as the primary curator for several unprecedented art exhibitions. He oversaw exhibitions such as the First Guangzhou Triennial, CAFAM Biennial, and CAFAM Future, which all played important roles in shaping today’s Chinese Non-Profit Art Institutions.