Chambers Fine Art is pleased to announce the opening on March 29, 2014 of Transformation: Recent Works by Wu Jian'an. Since his first exhibition at Chambers in 2006, Wu has primarily used paper cut as his preferred medium, although he has also experimented with other materials including metal and ox hide. As his works have grown in scale, the thematic underpinnings have also become increasingly complex, deriving from a wide range of philosophical, religious and visual traditions.
In Transformation Wu turns to an episode in the Chinese classic text Journey to the West for inspiration and creates an environment in which different media including painting in colored wax and water color are used to express his idiosyncratic interpretation of the legend. In his earlier work Wu used paper cut to express his fascination with hidden patterns of connectivity, frequently using individual elements in different combinations to reveal mysterious truths. For his depiction of the white ape’s nirvana Wu turns to a stylized figurative language that reflects his deep knowledge of classical Buddhist art. For the explosive energy generated at this moment leading to the creation of man and everything else in the universe, however, Wu has created sequences of works that pair repetitive depictions of human and animal forms with abstract equivalents.
The repetitive structure of 6000 Painted Faces and 1000 Fairies Painted by Qingdao Art Students in which each component is figurative and unique finds its abstract equivalent in Color Points and 792 Overlapping Colored Balls. In the spectacular abstractions as in the dizzying figurative works, Wu looks for hidden relationships between diverse forms, offering the viewer an opportunity to join him on this inward journey as he makes visual and iconographical connections between the diverse components of the installation. Overshadowing everything is the monumental Monkey Face Composed of 72 Tigers which refers to the mythological origins of Wu Jian’an’s wild journey through time and space.
As Wu Jian'an delves ever deeper into mythological and esoteric source material the scope of his ambition requires a broadening of the range of media he uses beyond his initial pursuit of the deeper meanings of which paper cut is capable. Transformation is the first impressive manifestation of this new development in his work.