Poster of Ah, Wang Yifan

Star Gallery presents its fifth solo exhibition for Wang Yifan on 2nd September 2017. The show, which is called Ah, Wang Yifan, will include six paintings, among which five are the latest, and will remain on view till 6 October 2017.

At the same time, it gives Star Gallery a great pleasure to announce that abstract painter Wang Guangle is going to be the curator of this exhibition. The collaboration between an abstract-painter curator and a figurative painter is about the start “a dialogue breaking away from all the preconceptions of painting”.

Wang Guangle puts Wang Yifan into the historical context of the New China by arguing that Yifan is part of the major painting movement from telling stories to being expressive, especially of the New Generation that emerged from the overall disillusionment with the society after China’s opening up and survived the conceptual art. His figurative painting is that of the Chinese people, which has a longer history of that of the Occident. It was supposed to be heavy, but became light and easy with Wang Yifan’s approch. By paying special attention to the Song poetry, which got rid of the burden to convey ideas as it had in the Tang Dynasty, Wang Guangle noted that figurative painting shares the Song poetry’s limitations of subjects and forms, and therefore one can refer to the criticism of the Song poetry while developing the painting theories.

Wang Yifan knows most of the subjects of his paintings, like his girlfriend in Wu Xiaoke’s Summer and his brother-in-law in Jeff with an Aching Tooth, and the reason for such choices is that “They are easy to manipulate and I won’t be annoyed looking at them”. The authenticity in his painting neither reflects the real life nor avoids the reality of life. It is the appearance of the subjective experience in the context of phenomenology. A part of Wang Yifan’s life, however, is devoted to his favorite painters: Lucian Freud, Edward Hopper and Otto Dix, etc. By analyzing their works and anecdotes, Wang Yifan managed to “decipher” their characters – Freud’s severe addiction to painting, Hopper’s unrivaled taste in painting, and Dix’s fiery temper behind his fantastic and complicated painting language. Wang Yifan didn’t simply use the symbols created by these masters, however, he ably reconstructed them with the help of semiotics and turned them into something speaking for his own modern loneliness. Wang Yifan tries to create paradoxes in his painting, for instance, the subject being moved but restrained, the situation being exciting but boring, and especially, the perfect execution of shapes and the colors at once. That Wang Yifan, who puts more efforts on depicting his subjects with a color palette of less primary colors and lower lightness, failed the last one became the biggest paradox of him.

The painting of the New Generation has gone through the transition from collective narratives to individual expressions, from us to me, then to “my exclamations”, and finally returned to its expressive and aesthetic functions. In general, Ah, Wang Yifan is part of this historical process, while to the artist himself, it is a foretaste of the maturity of his painting language and style.

About the exhibition

Dates: Sep 2, 2017 Oct 6, 2017

Venue: Star Gallery

Courtesy of the artist and Star Gallery, for further information please visit

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