|Title||Chen Wenji · Ma Shuqing|
|Artists||Chen Wenji, Ma Shuqing|
|Duration||Jul. 1, 2023 – Sep. 3, 2023|
|Opening||Jul. 1 (Sat.) 4pm|
Asia Art Center (Beijing)
Chen Wenji · Ma Shuqing
Asia Art Center (Beijing) is honoured to announce that exhibition “Chen Wenji · Ma Shuqing” will be held from July 1 to September 3, 2023. Chen Wenji (b.1954) was born in Shanghai. His paintings have a particular and distinctive visual perception, presenting a minimalist, pure composition and colour with a highly calm and plain expression. Chen Wenji’s paintings have always maintained an abstract detachment from reality. He creates a unique three-dimensional space on aluminium panel, canvas and paper. Chen Wenji’s thinking about painting has a rational rigour and a hidden order. Ma Shuqing (b. 1956), born in Tianjin, continues to experiment with different ways of applying colour, seeking to convey in his work the message of time and space and different ways of expression and space viewing experience. Colour is the visual vehicle through which Ma Shuqing articulates the concept of space and time in his paintings. In the process of painting, he removes the artificial emotions, moods and various symbolic meanings that are embedded in colour, allowing colour to return to neutrality and become visible. This exhibition presents the latest creations of both artists, who continue to expand the origins of painting, constructing space with colour changes, extrapolating the same extremes with different painting logics, and developing a dialogue between them.
From the classical realism of the 1980s to the lyrical landscapes of the late 1990s, Chen Wenji began to explore and turn from figurative language to minimalist abstract expression into the millennium, downplaying personal emotion and lyrics, simplifying the presentation of objects, and eliminating as much as possible what is beyond visual expression. In the words of Yin Ji’nan, “Independent from any movement, Chen Wenji has contributed to us a new model, a narrative model of scene and object, and more precisely a conceptual form of realism, breaking the metaphysical boundary between abstraction and figuration”.
Chen Wenji has a fascination with the products of the early industrial age. Coming from a working-class family, he was exposed to many visual forms associated with the industrial age as a child. This is reflected in his work, whether it is the chimneys, streetlights and buildings in his early classical realistic and lyrical landscapes, or the recent use of materials such as aluminium panels and spray paint, and the geometric forms of minimalist treatments.
Chen Wenji places importance on the relationship between his works and space, “I tend to see the wall as a canvas, and my works are a point, a colour implanted in this canvas”. He moulds the canvas with simple shapes familiar to the public and uses a single colour, a unity of form and colour, without presupposing or emphasising content, without a clear point of reference, simply as a manner of sequence to produce a rhythm of reading. Looking at the work is much more than just looking at the image, it is about appreciating the material, sensing the gravity and inner tension of the painting space and digging deeper into the feeling. This process of excavation is also an exploration of one’s ability to perceive. The colour transition in the work is not only an expression of volume and light, but also a guide to the inner changes of the viewer. The edges and back of That Cobalt Blue Shift… are bevelled and coloured, and the light shining on the wall reflects the colour, stimulating a new visual experience.
Ma Shuqing opened his mind to artistic creation at the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich, Germany. Influenced by abstractionism and minimalism, he believes that “painting is a state of being, and art is a way of life”. Ma Shuqing demonstrates an instinctive expression of free creativity through different media. Even in conceptual art, the artwork is still a concrete object, and the object conveys a sensual presence. Ma believes that the artist gives the work of art the form of an ‘object’, removing its practical meaning through creative modelling.
The viewing of space has deepened Ma Shuqing’s consideration of abstract and figurative painting, allowing him to experiment with the edges of concrete and virtual visual painting. Viewing is limited by time and space, each observation exists in one particular vision, unable to capture the whole space, the eyes concentrating on a particular object in space. Rather than creating conceptual paintings, Ma Shuqing builds virtual depths on the surface of the visible painting.
Ma Shuqing focuses his perception of painting on the three constituent elements of space, time and colour, using acrylic, epoxy resin and paper to shape the three-dimensionality of his works, transforming the abstract concepts of time and space into visible vehicles, exploring and practising the physical properties of the flatness of easel painting, and purifying the abstraction closest to its essence from the concrete materiality.
Chen Wenji and Ma Shuqing’s works are interspersed along a line, one static and one moving, one light and one loud, one hidden and one visible, a strong and calm visual effect that gives new awareness and expression to the space. Chen Wenji’s paintings are a fragmentary reflection of his own material observation and artistic language, and the extreme purity of the images transforms them into a confrontation with ‘stillness’. Seemingly objective and abstract, but subjective and realistic in essence. The calm, subtle and rigorous approach is a symbol of Chen Wenji’s rational and refined artistic attitude. Ma Shuqing pursues the subtle relationship formed by colour changes and solidified texture in his creations. The unpredictable contingency in the painting process allows the images to achieve a unique effect, presenting both a form language of impermanence and a metaphor for the state of existence of life and a poetic sense of sculpture.