七层壳

邬建安

纽约

2012年3月8日—2012年4月21日

Rainbow Cloud:Purple Wind Ascending from Left  彩云气-紫云

2012 
Colored paper, collage 彩纸,手工剪贴
Set of 2, 35 x 25 in. each

Rainbow Cloud – Spring 彩云气-春

2012

Colored paper, collage 彩纸,手工剪贴

42 x 30 in (107 x 76 cm)

Rainbow Cloud – Winter 彩云气-冬至

2012

Colored paper, collage 彩纸,手工剪贴

42 x 30 in (107 x 76 cm)

Chambers Fine Art is pleased to announce the opening of Wu Jian’an: Seven Layered Shell. Since Daydreams, his first exhibition at Chambers Fine Art in 2006, Wu Jian’an has won wide acclaim for the way in which he utilizes techniques derived from the traditional art of paper-cutting in increasingly ambitious multi-layered works and installations.

It was the outbreak of the SARS epidemic in 2003 that led to the creation of Daydreams, his first mature series of paper-cuts. For Wu Jian’an, however, paper-cutting was not an end in itself but the means by which he could express his fascination with Chinese mythology and the fantastic aspects of ancient civilizations worldwide. For his subsequent exhibition, The Heaven of Nine Levels (2008) and the installation Mountain Ranges exhibited at ART HK 11, he turned to Chiyou and Xingtian, ancient Chinese heroes who achieved ever-lasting fame for their bravery in adverse circumstances.

The tendency toward extravagant elaboration is even more pronounced in the works included in the present exhibition, Wu Jian’an: Seven Layered Shell. As described by Professor Haun Saussy in his introductory essay to the catalog, the simple outline of a human body “turns out to be immensely complex. The shadow fragments. The one body is now teeming with smaller bodies that are themselves teeming with smaller bodies. The bodies at their various levels peer at us with countless eyes or go about their business, ignoring us.”

The exhibition comprises two bodies of work, a series of paper cuts related to the installation Seven Layered Shell and Rainbow. In the former, three hundred and sixty cut-out forms are used in different combinations to create seven images of different aspects of the spiritual world. Through a process of free association, references to western cultural icons such as Darwin, Mao, Freud and Einstein cohabit with monster figures that derive from the Shan hai jing (Book of Guideways to the Mountains and Seas), an early Chinese geographical treatise. The monochromatic environment created by Wu Jian’an’s banners in the original installation of Seven Layered Shell contrasts with the dazzling palette of Rainbow which is centered on a free-standing sculptural form in the center of the gallery. In the words of the artist this “shows a man and a woman placed back to back with cloud motifs emanating from them, clouds that drift and circle, searching for ways to re-enter the physical bodies like the endless circulation of the life-force.”

Familiar as he is with a wide range of esoteric visual and literary materials and choosing to work in a technique that has its origins in folk-tradition, Wu Jian’an occupies a unique position among Chinese artists of his generation. In his ability to communicate messages from an inaccessible past, he may be seen as a visionary to whom the immediate concerns of life in the twenty-first century which figure so prominently in the work of his contemporaries are only of passing interest. He offers us a window into forgotten worlds.

继2011年12月北京前波画廊的展出之后,邬建安的《七层壳》又巡展到了纽约。类似北京展,此次展出也由《七层壳》和《虹》这两个系列组成,但艺术家考虑到纽约空间方面的限制,特地创作了一批尺寸相对适中的作品。在北京,两个主展厅悬挂了《七层壳》的七件巨幅长卷,每件作品由360个剪纸小人以七种不同的方式组合在宣纸和绢上,而《虹》在小展厅中单独展出。在纽约,邬建安特地重新创作了《七层壳》中的前三幅长卷,缩小了尺寸,并用手工镂刻牛皮代替纸人组合在绢上。这些单色系的长卷与小展厅中《虹》眼花缭乱的色调形成鲜明对比。以艺术家自己的话来说,这件雕塑的“图案是一男一女两个形象,他们背对背依靠云气联结在一起,云气从身体里飘溢出来,在身边萦绕盘旋,又寻找机会重新进入身体,这样,就形成了气的循环流动”。雕塑周围展示的一系列手工彩纸剪贴作品是对雕塑中所运用的元素的不同延伸,并把它们拼贴成极具幻想力的图形。

邬建安通晓古今各类神秘奥妙的视觉和文学题材,并选择运用一种源于民间传统工艺的媒材,因此他在中国同辈艺术家中是独树一帜的。现今大部分当代艺术家专注于眼下二十一世纪生活,而邬建安由于其擅长传达古远往昔信息的能力卓尔不群,被视作一个有远见的智者。他将那被遗忘的世界为我们打开了一扇窗。

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