10 maart 2020

The Chinese visual artist and curator Wang Yigang was born in 1961 in the province of Heilongjiang, China. When Yigang kicked off his studies at the Oil Painting Department of the Luxun Academy of Fine Arts in Senhyang – of which he graduated in 1986 – he was heavily influenced by Cubism and Futurism. Prior to his graduation in 1986, Yigang participated in the National Art Exhibition of the Young Artists and was accoladed with the National Youth Art Prize.

Yigang’s style can broadly be described as abstract art – despite the presence of some recognizable forms. The artist’s preference for abstract visual language originates from his idea that narration and logic are barely useful in art. Yigang, who rather depends on his intuition, regards the act of creating as the element to art in general. His painting is poly-material, made of heterogeneous materials. In his paintings the spatial perspective has turned into a perspective of colour. The intense colours count as the main element of the artist’s work. In addition, Yigang’s art is based on gesture: a fast gesture that is born from a deep impulse and above all accompanies the materials. His oeuvre can be divided into distinct periods. The first period includes pure abstract artworks or abstract art of numbers from the ‘90s; it focuses on tempo, freedom and rhythm. These works are characterized by a power of tension on the picture plane, fluctuating from disorder to order.

Yigang’s second period, which is closely related to real life, can best be chronicled as Pop Art. During that time Yigang was quite sensitive to items such as posters, advertisements and political topics, which led to a quite extensive production of collage paintings. Since 2000, He has been rediscovering the Chinese culture; for example he painted two series that are related to the traditional Chinese dyeing craft, which gave a new perspective on traditional Chinese art. Yigang’s later period is named by the acclaimed Chinese art critic He Guiyan (born 1976) as ‘concept abstract art’. Yigang executed these paintings following a philosophical concept, or a ‘deeper touch into Oriental culture’. These most recent works are about conceptual and abstract art, in which he aims to blend spirits of Oriental culture much deeper into his paintings; by not merely showing symbols of Chinese mountains and rivers, but rather the facts about life and blood is what he tries to depict in his artworks.

Although the artist has shown pluralism in style, from figurative to Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art, he has always been reflecting upon his own state of freedom on a deeper level. Yigang distinguishes no line between his life and his art, as he even states “my works of abstract art has proven my own existence.” He tells his story through painting, a story that remains impressed in the matter of the painting. For Yigang, painting is live material, to know, study, love and practise.

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