Sages’ Sayings, the title of the exhibition, refers to the artist’s rigorous study of ancient Chinese pictograms or ideograms and, in particular, Fourth Century Chinese calligraphy. On view will be Wang Xieda’s bronze cast sculptures, ink drawings, and his recent sculptural works made of rattan that are suspended from the ceiling and evoke the idea of a drawing in space. This is the artist’s debut exhibition at the gallery.
Cultural traditions and values of every country strive to find new contemporary language to keep pace with the transformation of artistic expression. Wang Xieda’s Sages’ Sayings sculpture series, begun in 2002, embodies this fusion and conflation of cultural history. While the structure and spirit of these works share essential similarities with Chinese calligraphy, they also focus on the material application and presence of bronze lines in which to create minimal, elegant forms to render both space and atmosphere. Western viewers might be immediately reminded of the attenuated and ‘drawn forms in space’ of sculptors such as Giacometti and David Smith when in fact Wang Xieda has been pursuing the realization of common human experience through the origin of language. His works do not simply reiterate the past but are reinterpretations of ancient expression, making them simultaneously contemporary and timeless.
Also on view are two sculptural works made from rattan and paper pulp that hang in mid air. These works are a further extension of the bronze Sages’ Sayings sculptures, but the rattan sculptures also consist of intangible elements to complete them: the use of light and shadow. To emphasis what might be considered a fourth-dimensional way of seeing, the shadows of the hanging sculptures are cast above a defined area of fine white sand, rendering a delineated and stark contrast of positive and negative, dark and light, inside and outside, illusion and reality.
A selection of works on paper from 2000 and 2005 are also included in this exhibition. The works from 2005 are directly related to the sculptures consisting of rice paper, rubbings, paper pulp, ink wash and silica gel mounted on canvas. The Ran series from 2000 (ink paintings on rice paper) are being exhibited for the very first time. In Chinese ‘Ran’ conveys the adverbial clause or syntax, such as so, hence, therefore, thus. The artist considers these ink paintings as primary works, executed simply and with an economy of means that would later lead him to the lyrical and visualized language of his sculptural works.
About the Artist
Wang Xieda, born in 1968 in Fushun, Liaoning Province and graduated from the Sculpture Department, China Academy of Art in 1996. He has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions both home and abroad as follows: 2010 Arte Chino, Wang Xieda Solo Exhibition, Cuba Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana, Cuba; 2010 “Wang Xieda”: Solo Exhibition, Institut Valencià d’Art Modern (IVAM), Spain; Sages’ Sayings: Wang Xieda’s Art in Z-Art Center in Shanghai in 2009, and at the Shanghai Sculpture Space in 2008. During the past 10 years, Xieda’s work has been included in a number of group exhibitions, ARTOUR-O the MUST, Museo Nazionale Alinari della Fotografia, Museo Archeologico, Museo di Santa Maria Novella, Firenze, Italy. He lives and works in Shanghai.
Courtesy of the artist, for more information please visit www.jamescohan.com