“Subjectively speaking, I actually hope that we can slow down our pace in life,Wang Guangle
because I have absolutely no idea which point is the end.”
Born in 1976 in China’s Fujian province, contemporary artist Wang Guangle is one of the oldest members of the post-70s ego generation. He graduated from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing in 2000, earning the Charles Wang scholarship for five of his painting relating to the theme of light.
After graduating, though, Guangle aimed to break free from the conventional rules of the Academy; in 2003, he became a founding member of nonconformist group N12. This collection of young artists is unified by a desire to break away from traditional painting’s approach to one that emboldens individual expression.
Guangle’s work is certainly revolutionary. His style of process-based abstraction mainly concerns itself with translating abstract qualities of the world into tangible forms such as paint on a canvas. His focus on presenting conceptual matters – most often directed toward the concept of time – has drawn both high praise and criticism.
Guangle is not merely concerned with art’s contemporary climate. His paintings reference several millennia of art history. His works incorporate Western styles such as Realism as well as the evolution of Chinese art from its folk traditions to its avant-garde style.
He has referred to his works as « compact of time » – a surface upon which entire experiences can be fit onto a rectangular space and transmitted to the viewer a singular moment.
Consider Guangle’s piece Untitled (121202).
Abandoning conventional painting techniques, Guangle concerned himself with creating mechanical duplicates of each rectangle in this piece. Each brush stroke created a carbon copy of the previous one. For Guangle, this world of repetitions would act as a meditative portal for viewers to introspectively consider the passage of time.
This painting is just one of many works that Guangle has crreated to express his concerns over this concept. His other works include the Coffin series and the Terrazzo series.
Guangle is often not preoccuppied with a color itself as much as its ability to embody a certain principle of his query with time. For example, in Untitled (201202), his choices of the colors red and green are not of inherent importance. Rather, they are significant in terms of the properties they give to the painting. It is the contrast between them that is relevant, creating an illusory space to induce a state of meditation over time’s elusive properties.
Each brush stroke, like a tree ring, is a reminder of time both experienced and lost. For Guangle, these physical marks of time passing are marks for himself – symbols of the truth’s existence, regardless of how he feels or what his attitude is.
Guangle’s work has been featured in numerous solo exhibitions, including at Pace Gallery in 2019 and at Taipei’s Soka Art Center in 2011. His work also has been visible among many group exhibitions, some of which include the Prague Biennale (2009); 28 Chinese, Asian Art Musuem, San Francisco (2015), and Constellation, Dmitry Shevardnadze National Gallery, Tbilisi, Georgia (2017).