A respected Chinese poet and artist, Wang Ai is known for delicate paintings made with rice paper, tea, Chinese ink and special pencils. Characterized by harmony and balance, these works combine ancient landscapes, animals, and scriptural texts with contemporary elements, demonstrating the fascinating and captivating contradictions.
Presenting a thoughtful use of color, his works reveal intriguing visual perceptions, varying according to the distance from which the painting is observed. From afar, these paintings appear as Color Field works, while, up close, they unveil an unexpected variety of details. These range from representations of animals to fragments of landscapes and imaginary figures.
Playing with the power of language, Ai continuously deconstructs and re-constructs it by depicting extracts of poems and Buddhist sutras. Exploring boundaries of tradition and modernity, he presents the dark, the obscure, the invisible, and the unsayable. He creates symbolic connections between man, the natural world and society, filtering reality through an ethereal mirror.
Featured image: Wang Ai – Space mountain, 2014 (detail). Mixed technique on rice paper, mounted on wood. 38 1/5 × 26 4/5 in. 97 × 68 cm. Photo courtesy Galerie Ernst Hilger.