December 10, 2022 – February 24, 2023
December 10, 2022 – February 24, 2023
XIYAO WANG: THE ENDLESS DREAMThe ARNDT Collection is proud to announce the solo exhibition of Berlin-based Chinese artist Xiyao Wang “The endless dream” that opens on the 10th of December 2022.
Wang has become renowned for her large-scale, immersive paintings in which gestural lines evoke echoes of landscapes, bodies, movements, thoughts. In the process, she develops a kind of hybrid abstract painting that combines various influences and inspirations: Taoism and post-structuralism, ancient Chinese pictorial traditions, bodywork, dance, martial arts, and the canon of Western art history. In her work, mythologies and the lyrical, hermetic painting of Cy Twombly merge with global mass culture, electronic music, with the networked, media-influenced thinking of millennials and Gen Z. Xiyao’s paintings explore inner visions, bodily perceptions, sensations, feelings, interrogating her East-West biography.
Wang’s abstract paintings can best be described as movement captured on canvas, as expressing a feeling of boundlessness and unbridled life energy. She combines various techniques such as oil and acrylic painting, chalk, graphite and oil sticks. Although her expressive lines draw on the tradition of Asian masters, she works without the classic materials of her homeland.
As part of this exhibition, her latest body of work presents ten major paintings at the Artbarn in Cape Schanck. These paintings are populated by delicate and deft strokes, dynamically changing between blue, orange, green and red tones, reminiscent of Cy Twombly. Even though it appears as if it had emancipated itself from the weight of the human body, it nevertheless remains secretly bound to it. In this respect, as Xiyao Wang recounts, “the lines are extensions of my body that moves, painting, in front of the canvas.
Painting is understood as a performative act. As a vital conversation with the canvas, which demands reactions from her as a painter, and as a sensitive record of the peregrinations of her body in the space, which extends itself onto the picture in order to become autonomous and imaginary there. It has detached itself from the studio space, and, from now on and in perpetuity, represents itself like a photograph, which, according to Wang, only “shows one detail, and, in the moment in which the shutter closes, time is suddenly brought to a standstill, and all movements are frozen and become blurred with a lack of definition. It is immediately obvious to the viewer that painting is a form of mediation for Wang.
“I see the canvas as a section of the whole, moving, flying phenomenon. As if one would take a photo with a camera. Through the lens of the camera or the canvas, you see only a section, and at the moment when the trigger is pressed, time stands still, and all movements are frozen or blurred into a blur. Or like an insect that is hit by a drop of tree sap. Quite unplanned, this animal now remains forever in this position as amber fossilised.” - Xiyao Wang
Upon the occasion of the exhibition opening, an Artist Talk was held in conversation with Matt Cox (Curator, Asian Art, Art Gallery of New South Wales).
WATCH THE ARTIST TALK HERE
Matt Cox completed a BA in Asian Studies with a major in Indonesian Studies (UNSW), MA in Art History (USYD) and a Doctoral thesis The Javanese Self in Portraiture from 1880 to 1955 (USYD). Cox has taught subjects on Contemporary art at the University of Sydney and is curator of Asian Art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. He recently curated Passion and procession. Art of the Philippines (2017); Playback: Dobell Australian Drawing Biennale 2018, Walking with gods (2019), A promise: Khaled Sabsabi (2020) and The National 2021: New Australian Art. Integral to these exhibitions and his curatorial practice more generally is his work with artists, curators and academics in Australia and Asia to explore relationships between art history and living communities.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Wang Xiyao 王茜瑶 was born in 1992 in Chongqing, China. The young artist lives and works in Berlin. Wang’s abstract painting can best be described as movement captured on canvas, as expressing a feeling of boundlessness and unbridled life energy. She combines various techniques such as oil and acrylic painting, chalk, graphite and oil sticks. Although her expressive lines draw on the tradition of Asian masters, she works without the classic materials of her homeland.
For Wang, who grew up in modest circumstances in a small country town on the Yangtze River in Southwest China, art was of central importance right from the start – her father is also an artist. Being not only talented, but also hard-working and ambitious, she was accepted to study art at the renowned Sichuan Fine Arts Institute (四川美术学院) when she was eighteen. After graduating at the age of twenty-two, she emigrated to Germany to discover new perspectives and broaden her view of painting, studying art for a further five years, three of them with Werner Büttner.
Wang prefers abstract painting as her direct and only form of expression. For her, a work usually begins with intensive inspiration, triggered either by external impressions or by her own thoughts and feelings. This inspiration then flows directly into her exploration of form; the artist describes her artistic work as a nearly bodiless process, as if her soul is floating in the air while everything else becomes unimportant. Free from all constraint, lines weave together that find themselves in a constant state of flow, transformation and flight, seemingly wanting to break out of the frame.
Photo credits: Ashley Ludkin