Diary of Inner Inspiration: Wu Yi Solo Exhibition

Curator: Fiona Lu

05.07 - 06.11, 2022

Bangkok

 
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Diary of Inner Inspiration: Wu Yi Solo Exhibition

 

Often called a “painter’s painter,” Wu Yi is one of the most artistically gifted Chinese contemporary artists. For half a century, he has been one of the few artists who has successfully adapted traditional Chinese art into something more contemporary. He has always retained his academic foundation, even as he has attempted to transcend that tradition. He has passed through the imitation stage to achieve perfection in mediums that span oil painting, Chinese ink painting, and literary writing.

 

This exhibition will showcase 21 recent works from Wu Yi’s Dunhuang series, including oil paintings and watercolors depicting Dunhuang Cave 98 and stories of the Buddha’s previous incarnations. The show will also present a dozen oil sketches made in Prague, Aschaffenburg, and Beijing. In these works, Wu depicts the parts that move him the most: street scenes in Beijing, people in Prague, urban architecture in Aschaffenburg, and religious images in Dunhuang. In “Diary of Inner Inspiration”, Wu Yi brings us on an intellectual journey that intermingles lived realities (nature) and artistic talent (inner inspiration), engaged in a historical dialogue with the artist Zhang Zao from the Tang dynasty. Most of Wu’s works are small in scale, so that they can be more easily carried as he travels. This interesting Chinese painter has woven travel into his life, feelings, and work, so he has experienced diverse cultural landscapes and local ways of life. He completely immerses himself in everyday life wherever he is. Clusters of small paintings offer diaristic glimpses of his nomadic spirit.

 

Born into a family of artists, Wu Yi naturally possesses an astounding talent for painting. Jing Hao wrote that an artist must observe the appearance of a thing to uncover the truth of it. The Eastern sensibility in Wu’s oil paintings reflects his distinctive character, displaying depth in the lightness. Flat, bright, and innocent, these paintings appear to fly. Wu reduces the number of visual elements in his work, invoking the concept of the void from Chinese ink painting. With this technique, he can capture the amusing and refined aspects of Dunhuang paintings, as well as the beauty and sensuality of Czech women. He has cleared away the dust of old literati painting and distanced himself from a very traditional mode of calligraphy and ink painting, in order to push his work from mere taste to the realm of style. The atmosphere in his work is light yet intriguing and subtle without being ethereal. The paintings simply convey the beauty of the earth and the delights of human life.

 

The parallel threads of nature and sketching, religion and tradition, have always run through Wu Yi’s oil paintings and they have been brought together in this exhibition. He has made sketches in cities around the world, repeatedly referencing traditional modeling techniques and the texture of Eastern splendor. Only someone who is very sensitive to life yet deeply fascinated by it could depict the everyday in such a bright and cheerful way. In the gaps between cultures, he shows the essence of everyday life. 

Wu Yi’s connection to the present is manifested in his travels, memories, realizations, and paintings. The essence of Chinese culture has offered him the chance to wonder at nature and represent his true intentions. His city sketches, like an unfinished diary, are reflections of a fascinating process.

In his commentary on painting, Shi Tao stresses the need for spirit, fluidity, and immersion in an artist’s brushwork. Wu Yi’s Dunhuang series reinterprets cultural heritage from the Sui, Tang, and Five Dynasties periods by imitating the spirit of these works. These modern representations of ancient painting techniques are flawless yet spontaneous, reflecting larger interactions between the individual and Dunhuang. Wu noted that Dunhuang after a sandstorm had a sense of unreality, and to reflect this feeling, his depictions of Dunhuang have a rarefied air and lack the heaviness often present in religious paintings. With simplified compositions and restrained brushwork, his paintings have a timeless beauty. Wu Yi has learned from the ancients and from nature, which has helped him to find his inner inspiration and develop a distinctive contemporary painting style that does not simply follow the trends.

 

 

 

Fiona Lu 

April 25, 2022

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Flying Child

Flying Child

38 x 45.5 cm Oil on canvas 2021

Vanquishing Demons

Vanquishing Demons

38 x 45.5 cm Oil on canvas 2021

Bodhisattva

Bodhisattva

45.5 x 38 cm Oil on canvas 2021

Lotus Child

Lotus Child

45.5 x 38 cm Oil on canvas 2021

Child

Child

38 x 45.5 cm Oil on canvas 2021

Meditation

Meditation

38 x 45.5 cm Oil on canvas 2021

Hunting

Hunting

38 x 45.5 cm Oil on canvas 2021

No Resentment

No Resentment

45.5 x 38 cm Oil on canvas 2021

Jump off the Cliffs to Feed the Tiger

Jump off the Cliffs to Feed the Tiger

45.5 x 38 cm Oil on canvas 2021

Archer and the Dancer

Archer and the Dancer

38 x 45.5 cm Oil on canvas 2021

Children Having Fun

Children Having Fun

45.5 x 38 cm Oil on canvas 2021

Bodhisattva Listening to Dharma

Bodhisattva Listening to Dharma

45.5 x 38 cm Oil on canvas 2021

Jīvajīvaka

Jīvajīvaka

38 x 45.5 cm Oil on canvas 2021

Implore, then been given the clothes

Implore, then been given the clothes

38 x 45.5 cm Oil on canvas 2021

Red tie

Red tie

30.5cm×22cm Oil on canvas 2013

Woman in a red shirt

Woman in a red shirt

31.5 × 22.5 cm Oil on canvas 2013

Train station No.3

Train station No.3

40cm×50cm Oil on canvas 2007

Woman at the water station

Woman at the water station

50cm×40cm Oil on canvas 2010

kindergarten on a us military base

kindergarten on a us military base

50 × 60 cm Oil on canvas 2007

Rosy Clouds

Rosy Clouds

30cm×40cm Oil on canvas 2008

Dong Si North Avenue

Dong Si North Avenue

30 × 40 cm Oil on canvas 2008

East Fourth Road

East Fourth Road

30cm×40cm Oil on canvas 2008

A Pose the Model Chose

A Pose the Model Chose

60cm×50cm Oil on canvas 2005

Before Opening

Before Opening

30 ×22.5cm Oil on canvas 2013

Lunch

Lunch

40cm×30cm Oil on canvas 2006

Chemistry laboratory

Chemistry laboratory

50cm×40cm Oil on canvas 2010

CCTV Tower

CCTV Tower

40cm×30cm Oil on canvas 2008

Cave 98 from Dunhuang I

Cave 98 from Dunhuang I

Watercolor on paper 18.5 x 24.5 cm 2010

Cave 98 from Dunhuang II

Cave 98 from Dunhuang II

Watercolor on paper 18.5 x 24.5 cm 2010

Cave 98 from Dunhuang III

Cave 98 from Dunhuang III

Watercolor on paper 18.5 x 24.5 cm 2010

Cave 98 from Dunhuang IV

Cave 98 from Dunhuang IV

Watercolor on paper 18.5 x 24.5 cm 2010

Cave 98 from Dunhuang V

Cave 98 from Dunhuang V

Watercolor on paper 18.5 x 24.5 cm 2010

Cave 98 from Dunhuang VI

Cave 98 from Dunhuang VI

Watercolor on paper 18.5 x 24.5 cm 2010

Cave 98 from Dunhuang VII

Cave 98 from Dunhuang VII

Watercolor on paper 18.5 x 24.5 cm 2010

Klikov Piskovna No. 3

Klikov Piskovna No. 3

32 × 22 cm Oil on canvas 2013

Klikov Piskovna No. 5

Klikov Piskovna No. 5

31.5 × 21.5 cm Oil on canvas 2013

Mother and Daughter

Mother and Daughter

60 × 50 cm Oil on canvas 2020

Balcony No.4

Balcony No.4

60 x 50 cm Oil on canvas 2020

Bathing Figure

Bathing Figure

60 x 50 cm Oil on canvas 2020

Woman No.2

Woman No.2

60 x 50 cm Oil on canvas 2020

Woman No.4

Woman No.4

50 x 60 cm. Oil on canvas 2021

 
Artist
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Wu Yi

 

Born in 1966, Changchun City, China.

Wu Yi now serves as associate professor at the mural painting department under Central Academy of Fine Arts, Graduate student Supervisor, Chief of Studio.4 Deputy director. The artist graduated from the department of traditional Chinese painting under Central Academy of Fine Arts, with a bachelor's degree in 1989 and he graduated from the department of traditional Chinese painting under Central Academy of Fine Arts, with master’s degree with professor Lu Chen as tutor.

 

His selected and recent solo exhibitions include: “Prague”, Song Art Museum, Beijing, China and “Portrait of a Scene“, Tang Contemporary Art, Hong Kong, China, 2021; “Wu Yi's solo exhibition – XIUZHEN TU”, XUN WAY Art Space, Shanghai, China,2019; “A Carefree Excursion:Wu Yi Solo Exhibition”, Hive Center for Contemporary Art,Beijing, China,2014; “The summer of Prague”, Galerle Vaclava Spaly, Prague, Czech,2013. Artist selected group exhibition include: “Re-Jiangnan|Homepage: The Golden Age Never Gone”, The Museum of Nanjing University of the Art, Nanjing, China, 2022; “The Curtain Call of Theater and the Return of Medium“, MOFEIM, Qingdao, China, “Diversified Expressions——Contemporary Chinese Ink Art”, Daqian Gallery, Beijing, China and “Family”, Tong Gallery + Projects, Beijing, China, 2021.

 

Invited by Xinhua News Agency, Wu Yi drew the paintings for the cover of Japanese monthly magazine Shorinji Kempo published by the Mainichi Shimbun in 1992. He was selected in the List of the Powerful Chinese Modern Artists by L’officiel Art (2009) and (2014). Wu Yi’s collection published by The American art publisher TIMEZONE8 was first launched at Frankfurt Book Fair. He is the first Asian artist drawing the illustrations (2 volumes) for Laozi -Tao Te Ching in Czech version which has been included into the National Library collection.

Curator
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Fiona Lu

b. 1992, Hubei, China

Fiona is the director of the exhibition department of Tang Contemporary Art. Her curating themes include intergenerational research of artists, gender research, fashion and virtual art, with special focus placed on the research of emerging art phenomena brought by young Chinese artists born in the 90s and 00s. Fiona is committed to bringing out the strength of younger generations of artists. Past curating works include: "Yue Minjun: Smile at the Flower Sermon” (2022), “Indoor Weather” Caochangdi spring art show (2022), "Memory, Playfulness, and Stream of Consciousness" (2022), “Global Song" (2022), “Low Fever" (2021), "Li Erpeng: Control" (2021), "Guo Yuheng Solo Exhibition" (2020), etc. She was also selected to be part of the Emerging Curator Project of Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art (2018).