Pang Maokun Solo Exhibition - Flowers in the Mirror
Curated by He Guiyan
5.18 - 6.19, 2021
Tang Contemporary Art is proud to present “Flowers in the Mirror,” the latest solo exhibition by Chinese contemporary artist Pang Maokun at Hong Kong space. Curated by He Guiyan, the exhibition features nearly 20 oil and paper works created from 2013.
The exhibition is entitled “Flowers in the Mirror” primarily because Pang created a series of figure paintings or portraits with the person placed in front of a mirror. Represented by Live Broadcast and Wedding Witness, Pang Maokun has long maintained a strong interest in the visual or viewing mechanisms inside a painting, and the power discourses that they conceal. What’s different is that these paintings do not draw on classic works from the art historical canon to communicate his ideas; Pang places the figures in a concrete, everyday environment. Because of the mirror’s presence, the visual mechanism actually reflects two ways of looking; the figure and mirror in the painting constitute the first layer, and the second is the artist’s gaze. The gaze is more powerful than merely looking because it indicates the artist’s keen insight and his spiritual depth when reflecting upon reality. In the end, when viewers confront the completed work, they share in Pang’s aesthetic and viewing experience.
This exhibition features some of Pang’s recent figure and portrait paintings, the majority of which depict the artist’s family, friends, and colleagues. Some of the pieces were painted from live models. In these works, Pang does not spend too much time on the setting; he simplifies the background and excludes superfluous detail. Instead, he invests his energy in capturing the figure’s status—his or her psychological or spiritual state in those circumstances.
On one hand, Pang utilizes methods of appropriation and juxtaposition from post-modern art to distort the pictorial compositions and narrative methods of classic paintings, thereby strengthening the conceptual content of the works. On the other hand, by adding new figures, he uses parody to change the visual mechanisms of the original image and further explore the powerful discourses hiding behind the act of looking. While rooted in current social and cultural circumstances, the paradigm of classical painting and the contemporary cultural spirit and character of our time are always closely linked through a distinctive visual tension in Pang’s paintings.
Pang Maokun was born in Chongqing in 1963. He studied in Affiliated Senior High School of Sichuan Fine Arts Institute from 1978 to1981, studied in Oil Painting Department of Sichuan Fine Arts Institute from 1981 to 1988; Pang received his master's degree in 1988. Currently, Pang is the Deputy Chairman of China Artists Association, President of Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, Deputy chairman of Chongqing Federation of Literary and Art Circles, Chairman of the Chongqing Artists Association, Director of the China Artists Association Oil Painting Council, and doctoral supervisor of Shanghai University and Xi’an Fine Arts Institute.
For years Pang has been exploring the possibility of classical oil painting language under current circumstances, combining his personal art creation with the social reality. His classical paintings appear distant and different from the daily life as he sets his gaze towards reality. It indicates the maturity of his personal style, which also reveals the value and meaning of oil paintings in contemporary art. His works are exhibited and collected in and out of China. His representative works include Apples are Ripe, The Rainbow is Silently Above, A Golden Summer, Blur Series, Virtual Time Series, Coincidence Series, Shining Brightly Series, Viewing the Floating World Series, Foldaway Portraits Series and etc.
He Guiyan was born in Shehong, Sichuan Province in 1976. He graduated from Department of the Art History, Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in 2003 as a Master, and graduated from School of the Humanities, China Central Academy of Fine Arts in 2009 as a Doctor. He currently teaches in Department of the Art History in Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in current as Professor. He now serves as Director of Art Museum of Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, Director of the Contemporary School of Arts in Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, Member of the China Annual Art Critics Assembly, Member of the China Sculpture Institute, and Member of the Curators Committee in China Artists Association.
He has published more than 60 papers on domestic learned periodicals, such as Arts Criticism, Literature & Art Studies, Art Research and Art China. He has also published personal writings and books.