九重天

邬建安近作

北京

2008年7月12日—8月24日

The Heaven of Nine Levels 九重天
2008

Carved ox-hide mounted on LED lightbox 手工镂刻牛皮、LED灯箱

216 x 154 x 9 in (548 × 391 × 23 cm)

The Heaven of Nine Levels (Paper) 九重天(纸)

2008

Laser-cut paper 纸本镂刻
98 x 71 in (250 × 180 cm)

Xingtian (All Characters Dancing) 刑天(共舞)

2008

Laser-cut paper 纸本镂刻

54 x 42 in (137 x 107 cm)

The Head of Chiyou 蚩尤首级

2008

Carved ox-hide, ox-hide glue, pigments, mounted on LED lightbox 手工镂刻牛皮、牛皮胶、颜料、LED灯箱

55.5 in diameter x 5.5 in height (141 cm in diameter × 14 cm in height)

Xingtian 刑天

2006-2007

Hand-carved ox-hide mounted on LED lightbox 手工镂刻牛皮、LED灯箱

108 x 65 x 5.5 in (275 × 165 × 14 cm)

Hands and Feet 手,脚

2008

Laser-cut brass 黄铜板(激光镂刻)

Upper: 38 x 60 x .05 in (96 × 153 × 0.15 cm)

Lower: 60 units, varied in size

Xingtian (Group Dancing) 刑天(群舞)

2008

Laser-cut paper 纸本镂刻

35 x 23 in (88 x 58 cm)

Xingtian (Adversaries Dancing) 刑天(对手之舞)

2008

Laser-cut paper 纸本镂刻

42 x 29 in (107 x 73 cm)

Chambers Fine Art Beijing is pleased to announce the opening on July 12 of The Heaven of Nine Levels by Wu Jian’an. Born in Beijing in 1980, Wu Jian’an graduated from the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing in 2005 where he studied in the Department of Folk Art. Like his distinguished professor, Lu Shengzhong, Wu’s fascination with folk art soon lead to the evolution of a personal style that stands in distinct contrast to prevailing modes of expression in contemporary Chinese art.

The fantastic persuasion of Wu Jian’an’s imagination was immediately apparent in Daydreams, his first solo exhibition at Chambers Fine Art New York in 2006. His disturbed state of mind during the SARS epidemic lead to a series of virtuoso paper-cuts that explored to the full the range of effects available in his chosen means of expression. The following year he turned to stainless steel in the monumental work Execute Chiyou by Lingchi, (a.k.a Lingchi Chiyou, Kill His Eighty-one Brothers – Our Chinese Civilization Was Then to Create a Brilliant History of Five Thousand Years).

For the current exhibition Wu Jian’an has delved deeper into the Chinese mythology that so fascinates him and has moved from paper-cut to carved and pierced ox-hide as his medium. In an extensive interview with Yan An , Wu has described his growing enthusiasm for "anything related to Old China", not the classical China of calligraphy and literati culture but paper-cuts, shadow puppets, the Dunhuang Grottoes, frescoes, carved stones etc. Fascinated with the literature of ghosts and spirits, Wu Jian’an has used the linear means of expression derived from these sources to create his The Heaven of Nine Levels in which nine kinds of animals including bird, human-faced bird, winged human, tiger, frog, giant salamander and fish express "logic and power". This tour-de-force is accompanied by two further works carved in ox-hide, Xingtian and Head of Chiyou.

In order to realize his ambitious plans Wu Jian’an worked with Wang Tianwen whom he first met when he was doing research on shadow puppets in 2004. A master of his craft, Wang Tianwen had been making shadow puppets for more than forty years and had gained a wealth of experience that enabled Wu Jian’an to meet the challenge of giving three-dimensional form to his fantastic visions.

As Christophe W. Mao has remarked, "Although China is getting ready for the Olympics and the face of Beijing is being transformed in readiness for the opening on August 8, it is reassuring to find that an artist such as Wu Jian’an still responds to aspects of Chinese culture that might seem to be on the verge of extinction. His The Heaven of Nine Levels and his homages to Xingtian and Chiyou are idiosyncratic and masterly visitations from a mythical past that is still with us. Traditional craft is used in the service of an imagination that finds connections between ancient China and the computer-generated fantasies of today."

北京前波画廊很荣幸地宣布邬建安的个展《九重天》将于7月12日开幕。邬建安1980年生于北京,2005年毕业于中央美院民间美术研究室。正如他卓越的导师吕胜中一样,邬建安对民间艺术的迷恋不久便催生了他个人风格的演进,而其风格截然迥异于中国当代艺术里盛行的表现模式。

2006年,邬建安在纽约前波画廊的首次个展《白日梦》鲜明地呈现了他对幻想的精彩诠释。在非典时期他困扰的心境使其创作了一系列个性鲜明、技巧精湛的剪纸作品。这些作品极尽各式效果,探索了他所选用的表现手法。次年,邬建安又转向了不锈钢材质,创作了惊人的《凌迟蚩尤》(又作《凌迟蚩尤,干掉他的八十个弟兄,我华夏文明创造了五千年辉煌》)。

对于这次展览,邬建安更沉湎于令其着迷的中国神话,并由剪纸转向以牛皮雕刻作为自己的媒介。在与阎安的详尽的访谈中,邬建安认为自己对“古代中国相关的事物”日益增长的兴趣并非出自中国古典书法和文人墨客的文化,而是剪纸、皮影戏、敦煌石窟、壁画、石雕等。出于对神怪文学的热衷,邬建安运用了脱胎于此的线性表述手法来创作《九重天》,作品里面九类动物涵盖了鸟、人面鸟、人头鸟、羽人、老虎、青蛙、娃娃鱼和鱼,表现了逻辑和力量。

为了实现他这浩大的工程,邬建安与2004年在皮影戏调研过程中结识的皮影雕刻家汪天稳合作。汪天稳创作皮影已逾20多年,其丰富的经验使得邬建安能够将自己奇想化为立体的现实。

前波画廊的创始人茅为清评述道:“尽管中国正为奥运作着准备,北京不断变化的城市外貌业已为8月8日的开幕式准备就绪,但像邬建安这样的艺术家能对一些濒临消失的中国文化作出回应乃是令人欣慰的。邬建安的《九重天》以及其对刑天、蚩尤的敬慕是神话故事里的过往的重现,它们与众不同,显示了超凡的技巧。传统的工艺在此服务于一种想象力,它贯通古代中国和今日的数码奇幻。”

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