Mended Procelain:Bridging the Crack Wang Huaxiang‘s Solo Exhibition
Sponsor: Suzhou Museum
Time: March 13——May 9 2021
Symposium: March 28，2021
Add: Modern Art Hall of Suzhou Museum
Undoubtedly, conflicts serve as a key feature of mankind at present. Conflicts can be reflected in many ways including conflicts occurred in the art world, art history, people around us, interest of Sino-US and the West, culture, human race, society, etc. Conflicts can be viewed as much the fear for future as it is a symbol of witness. It is hoped that this exhibition only mirrors the bygone things before 2020, but not a dire prediction for human society.
Under the intertwined context of COVID-19, US presidential election, Sino-US rivalry, century-long global change and a community of shared future for mankind, Mr. Wang Huaxiang named his most cherished exhibition in Suzhou Museum as “mended porcelain”, by using paintings to express his state, anxiety and responsibility with the intention of declaring war against all types of “viruses” including enmity, injury, war, destruction, shortsightedness, conflict, etc.
In the nature and culture of mankind, the “vile” virus that lead to conflicts are fighting fiercely against the “repair” cells in an open or secret manner, each for its own sake. And the same story goes with today’s art world. Painting, in modern times, has been hit by photography and technology. Similarly, art has been replaced by philosophy and business in contemporary times. Mr. Wang hopes to restore the glory of painting during his whole lifetime. Technology is first and foremost if painting, realistic painting in particular, pursues a well-recognized and time-honored reputation. Mr. Wang uses his works as a witness of the important techniques in painting and the theme of painting as a witness to the existence of the law of heaven. All men are born free. There are always a bright side or a dark side for individuals to choose from. Similarly, Mr. Wang is also making his own choice every moment.
As a painter, Mr. Wang believes that eternal truth is hidden in the realistic painting which he strives to explore. For decades, Mr. Wang has diligently dedicated himself to his own work though experiencing numerous environmental pressure, conceptual pressure and inner temptations, vanity, conceit and hubris, etc. Just like this world, his inner world would sometimes turn into a battlefield of chaos and turbulence. This exhibition is all about his thoughts and reflections on these issues.
President of the International Academic Printmaking Alliance (IAPA)
Dean of the International Printmaking Institute (IPI)
Member of the China Artists Association
Visiting Professor of Roma Academy of Fine Arts, Italy
Judge of Belgium European Printmaking Masters Exhibition
Member of International Honorary Advisor Committee of ACE Contemporary Art Foundation, Argentina
Wang Huaxiang‘s works
Mended Porcelain No.1 120 × 160cm oil on canvas in 2020
The image of this painting is based on Ruben''''''''s work Satyr. In Greek mythology, Satyr exists as an image of half man and half beast. On one hand, as the God of Forest, Satyr represents creativity, music and poetry; on the other hand, he has become the symbol of eroticism and sexual desire due to his indulgence in carnal pleasure and lust. The polarized conflicts of the character itself have made it a perfect metaphor for the artist''''''''s recreation—the root of all social confrontation lies in the imbalance between the morals and desires of individuals. Rubens''''''''s painting is presented on the left side, while the artist''''''''s painting is on the right side. This is a way of paying homage to the classical painting represented by the master, with the artist adopting the same or similar modeling techniques as those of the master. The biggest difference from the master’s works lies in that one is able to observe the world through camera lens and computer that are clearer than naked eyes.
Mended Porcelain No.2 30 × 40cm oil on canvas in 2020
Mended Porcelain No.3 60×80cm oil on canvas in 2020
Mended Porcelain No.4 120 × 120cm oil on canvas in 2020
One may feel suspicious at this moment, and immediately turn into a sense of numbness the next moment...These all belong to indispensable fragments of an individual. There are thirty-two methods for engraving a portrait, and also thirty-two “self” in a person’s body. What can be defined as “real” and “ego”? Perhaps we can only piece together the answer from thousands of fragments in different states. Everyone is conflicted, yet people today are more conflicted than ever.
Mended Porcelain No.5 60×80cm oil on canvas in 2020
This painting is inspired by El Greco’s Christ Carrying the Cross. The difference lies in that Jesus Christ in the original painting represents as a God who suffers for mankind, but in this new painting, the artist associates Christ with mortals. They do not only create sufferings, but they also suffer from the disasters. It indicates that all living beings have to suffer when facing their fates. Either human beings or gods, gods or ghosts, they all possess same appearance and genes. So is it an act of pretending to be gods or playing as ghosts? Or is it an act of worshipping or hatred for God? It is believed that we all have free will.
Mended Porcelain No.6 60×120cm oil on canvas in 2020
The characters on the right half of this painting are based on the image of King Tereus in Rubens’s masterpiece The Banquet of Tereus. Even the mighty king had to pay the price of losing his son for his excessive indulgence in lewdness, and then fell into the abyss of mad revenge. The greatest threat to the destruction for mankind is always themselves. The same is true of all ages, both at home and abroad. In the eyes of the artist, image equals to the content, and costume equals to the words. He used his own way to express his wishes for world peace.
Mended Porcelain No.7 30 × 30cm oil on canvas in 2020
Mended Porcelain No.8 60×80cm oil on canvas in 2020
Imperceptible complexity is hidden behind the joyful facial expressions of the two characters. The character on the left side is based on the image of Joseph in Rubens’s The Holy Family with Saint Anne— he felt excited by the birth of his son, and feel hesitant because his son is Jesus. Facing the unknown future, individuals may feel inevitably excited and scared. One have to move forward after a moment of hesitation. The person in a famous painting vs. a student of the artist in reality; a white people and an Asian man spanning over different times and space though from different races. What the author tries to convey is a concept that transcends the realm of time, space and race: all men are brothers of the same root, and we should enjoy and understand this boundless world together.
Mended Porcelain No.9 60×80cm oil on canvas in 2020
Life will not only make you have a happy and smiling face but it will also give you a sudden punch. Just like the figures in painting, they are stunned all of a sudden. This is how the real world runs—no matter how careful you are, you may fail to avoid all the challenges in life. Those who were born of the same root may tend to torment and fight against each other. All human beings are born with inherent weakness, especially us.
Mended Porcelain No.10 100×120cm oil on canvas in 2020
The image is based on Titian’s Christ Carrying the Cross, but the artist replaces the apostle of Jesus in the original painting with himself. It is the artist’s mission to fix the broken Jesus with the rope he holds in his hands. The tragic image represents as a metaphor for the positive spirit: in this world, we cannot just be vassals who pin our hopes on others, but we should be those who repair the fragments.
Mended Porcelain No.11 120×160cm oil on canvas in 2020
The horror of the real world originates from the darkness and depth of the human heart. Can we be able to reach the destination of happiness? What tools do we have for crossing the sea in life? Can we depend on any technology? NO! Shall we resort to force? NO! Or can we achieve it by economy? NO! The fallen wood in the huge waves becomes the last Noah’s Ark. The artist becomes the savior and repairs the broken trees to ensure that every one can survive the boundless ocean. However, could there really be such a savior? The choice in life is in the hands of individuals and one should pray for blessings. In the face of disasters in reality, human beings can only save themselves.
Mended Porcelain No.12 120×160cm oil on canvas in 2020
The image originates from Rubens’s painting The Union of Earth and Water. However, the harmonious relationship between earth and water in the original painting is broken, and the Goddess of the Earth and her servants are besieged by the ocean. Confronted with a broken relationship and overturned balance, the artist once again turns himself into a savior, repairing the broken canoe. No one will ever know how long the ark will last.
Mended Porcelain No.13 120×160cm oil on canvas in 2020
The artist adopts the image of Titian’s painting The Rape of Europa. Europa’s body was stitched together with ropes, and Zeus, who had taken the form of an ox, also wore a facial mask. The metaphor of the work tends to be self-evident: COVID-19 has widened the spatial distance between people, even for close lovers. However, just as Hera could not stop the love between Zeus and Europa, so did the pandemic fail to cut off the connection between hearts and minds of individuals.
Mended Porcelain No.14 100×200cm oil on canvas in 2020
This painting draws on Rubens’s oil painting Perseus Freeing Andromeda. The entire body of the beautiful Princess Andromeda has been split in the middle, as miserable and helpless as she was trapped on the reef. However, the broken body is patched by the artist, just as the princess is destined to be rescued by Perseus. Everything can be repaired, as long as we do not lose our faith and hope.
Mended Porcelain No.15 100×120cm oil on canvas in 2020
This painting is based on Ceres and Pan jointly completed by the famous painter Rubens and still life painter Snyders. Ceres and Pan are both symbols of harvest, fertility, and abundance in Greek mythology. The Creator can bestow endless abundance and beauty upon mankind, but the Creator can also take back all the gifts in an instant. The only way we can keep everything with us is to repair our relation with nature and always stay in awe.
Mended Porcelain No.16 100×120cm oil on canvas in 2020
Rembrandt in his Self Portrait is determined and courageous. It seems that he can overcome anything, but no one can escape the hardships and test of reality. Even though sufferings rip us apart time and time again, we must not fall down. As long as the faith never dies, the mental trauma will be healed eventually. The phoenix that rises from its ashes will be even more dazzlingly beautiful after its rebirth.
Mended Porcelain No.17 100×120cm oil on canvas in 2020
This painting is based on Titian’s masterpiece Salome. In this painting, Salome delivers the head of John the Baptist, presenting a bloody, violent and tempting picture. Just like Salome, there are many living beings in this real world are alienated by love and lust, splitting their souls because of the limitless desires and only caring about physical appearance.
Mended Porcelain No.18 30×30cm Oil on canvas in 2020
Mended Porcelain No.18 and Mended Porcelain No.19 are partially taken from and enhanced from Mended Porcelain No.1. The detailed depiction represents the wound in the body looks even more shocking, and the repaired cord seems more of a knotted steel cord. Distorted, torn, and recreated—the sharp eyes and strong chest endow us with the courage to face the sufferings.
Mended Porcelain No.19 30×40cm oil on canvas in 2020
Mended Porcelain No.20 80×80cm oil on canvas in 2020
The new president Biden and ex-president Trump respectively represent the conflicts of political parties and values in the United States, which is also an epitome of the conflicts between priority values and universal values in the United States. The two-century American dream of freedom and democracy suddenly turned into a mirage. Man-made repairs can only work as a temporary relief of pain, and the result is not yet known whether the root of the disease can be completely removed.
Construction finished on 31 December 1959, the Museum was officially opened to public on 1 January 1960. The old Suzhou Museum was located in Zhong Wang Fu, a 19th century historical building of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom. The new building, designed by the internationally renowned architect I. M. Pei, was opened on 6 October 2006. The Museum has started free admission since 18 May 2008, when listed among the first batch of State First-Class Museums. Now the Suzhou Folk Customs Museum and Suzhou Arts and Crafts Museum are also integrated into the Suzhou Museum, and Guo-Yun-Lou Gallery and the Suzhou Museum Library are also opened to public.