A couple-Wan-Chun WANG solo exhibition

Date /2017/1/14 ~ 2017/2/19
Reception /2017/1/14 PM3:00-5:00
Artist /Wan-Chun WANG

The World in the Book Store

The World in the Book Store

– A Review of Wan-Chun Wang’s Recent Art Works       By An Huai Bing


I had a think, square album of painting on my hands which covered by thick soil color kraft paper. The old album was first printed twenty years ago and was a plain one both visually and in sense of touch. Both sides of the album are the cover page, one side is Wong-Shen Su and the other side is Wan-Chun Wang. When I read the biography of Wan-Chun Wang (which is very similar to a subjective CV), some paragraphs attracted me. He wrote “When I was twenty, I was admitted to National Taiwan College of Arts to learn sculpturing, and then I gave up and started to learn paintings and music by myself,” “I held a solo exhibition in Spring Gallery in August when I was twenty-seven…After the exhibition, I felt lost and had no idea what to draw…,” “I started to make my living by selling lunch boxes for the first half year of my twenty-eight and then I became a street vendor after the following two years, which were the tough days of my life…,” “when I was thirty, I decided to live a simple and semi-reclusive life in Hualien like a sadhu and since I had much time and the environment around me was good, I started to paint again,” and “when I was thirty-four, I stopped making handicraft and focused on painting… I had sold many paintings in this year and my life got better; hover, I felt tired because I put much energy on it and creation was not as much fun as it used to be.” Among those murmuring-like words, I can feel the young life struggling between art and reality, and the dilemma between ups and downs is an attracting historical style.

If we could return to the mid-nineteenth century and oven the early twentieth century of Europe, from the impressionism, post-impressionism, fauvism, cubism, Paris School, to Expressionism, etc., the names of the artists on the art history, most of their life (when they were young at least) were suffering but great, mad and absolute. It is not general to see an artist to have such attitude beyond the social value system. I cannot imagine when Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) would say he felt lost and didn’t know what to draw when he took some many cases from the royalties in European countries and he would felt exhausted and painting was not as much fun as it used to be, for it was impossible for Rubens. Only when it was at certain periods, the artists would have such adorable (from some view points) characteristics. It also reminds me of the 1960s to 1980s when I had never been through but learned from the elders that many young artists studied aboard at that time in a ambition to win some reputation in the US and Europe. Nowadays, artists studying aboard will return to Taiwan as soon as they earn the degree to see if they can find a job in school. When the artists held exhibitions in galleries to win praises and business affirmation in the 1960s to 1980s when they would feel doubted and lost for the meaning and implications of success, whereas the artists nowadays, especially for the new guys of twenties to thirties, have stuck on a certain theme or some kind of techniques or texture when they enter into the market and then constantly duplicate and refine to constitute his/her personal art trademark, resulting into bad habit and triteness in a very short period of time. I always feel the people at my age are the most “slavish” generation that we always obey when we are in school and in the markets. Either schools or markets are the first world of capitalism which is not extremely evil but it is not good to be no reflecting. It is rare to see even in nowadays that people would like Wang to give up his education qualification in National Taiwan College of Art and regarded the school as nothing mattered at all.

Although Wang left the school, he never gave up his learning. He joined the field in the 1980s and became mature in the 1990s. In 2017, his upcoming exhibition – Dual in Moon Gallery in Taichung covers several tens of years. As we can see the changes in Wang’s art works, there are different kinds of pursue in various periods and the corresponding different artistic models. The paintings in his early years (around the early 1990s) are watercolor paintings. In his simple layout of the paintings, he drew a place of himself with people, dogs, flowers, and clouds which have dreamlike characteristics that can be changed and simplified. He used soft and tender touches over the paintings instead of specific strong lines. With the strokes continuously laying on, the pink series color had shown various changes, which as I believe he was affected mostly by the super-realism and expressionism, but his tones were not so intense and direct. As for the art works in the recent exhibition in Moon Gallery, there are some quite changes of Wang among those works in the recent ten years. In regard to the artistic language, he changed from the hazy gradient tone and the flat painting technique by using strong colors to increase the contrast, thereby making his paintings more bright and vigorous. With the feature of the language, his artistic orientations changed to civil art, new literati paintings and new expressionism. In his art works of cutting papers – “Dream,” The kind of scattered point of perspective and elements scattered around the layout at the first glance seem casual, but in fact it has the portraits of bricks and stones in the Han Dynasty. In his other art works of cutting paper – “Though Young” and “Simple Life” and the painting of “Joy,” the plain and amiable style is the contemporary reinterpretation of peasant paintings. And the human figures and their expressions in “Reverse Thinking” and “Floating Place” show the drama of Enzo Cucchi (1949-), which is only the localization of the human figures by Wang.

Art is the outcome of history, as are artists. The evolution of creation development of artists is telling the story of the renewing vision and values of artists. Many creative artists do not like to be regarded as “affected by certain objects,” but I believe being affected is a good and wonderful thing. Those great and wonderful historical models encourage the artists nowadays to purse themselves. And as an extraordinary artist as Wan-Chun Wang, he made an outstanding style in the new literati painting system in the 1980s that he neither stayed in the blurry, fantasy dream nor entered into the aloof or cynical alley. He objects he is fond of are those vigorous and energetic ones. In fact, his art works are like a pleasure, both in literati and civil, some are cynical but not affected by the trend, while some are not dignified, nor frivolous. Even if there are some sorrows occasionally, but never go too far, and this is the self-sustaining of art and more of his temperament.


Wrote on 29 Dec., 2016.