WEN WU


on display now at Riflemaker: new 'literary' paintings by the Chinese artist WEN WU.
The next exhibition by WEN WU will be at the gallery from Wednesday 8 March 2017

'Metaphysical object''
oil on canvas (2016)
30 x 26 cm
'The High Object'
oil on canvas (2016)
30 x 26 cm
'Icarus'
oil on canvas (2016)
30 x 26 cm


Download available works by Wen Wu (PDF)

WEN WU

The Chinese painter Wen Wu (b. 1978 Qing Dao) graduated from Tsinghua University, Beijing, having been tutored by Chen Dan Qing, the most influential art educator in China.

Wu's paintings counter the commercialisation of art production in today’s China, the sole aim of her canvases being aesthetic - primarily the representation of beauty. Her work breaks with the politically orientated Social Realist style, popular from 1950-1970, toward a more poetic or ‘literary’ neo- realism taking its cue from Western sources, in her case everything from 19C French plein air romanticism through the English Pre-Raphaelites and the Victorian painters to the Pre-WWII School of Paris.

In Chinese language systems, symbols or 'characters' depict the often monosyllabic words as pictograms or ideograms. Wen Wu takes the idea to its literal conclusion by using the physical shapes of these 'syllables' to present them as human figures. Two hardcover books placed side by side become 'Adam & Eve’' a woman's body set within a paper fan is 'The Original Force of Creation'. A young girl's hand emerging from a folded edition becomes 'My Roving Desires'.

Each small painting is figurative though the spirit of the work appears abstract. Pools of colour almost consume the subject within a world of shadows. Ochre and cerise fill both background and foreground while the execution of the image; the instinctive brushstrokes, the body shapes and also the body language of the models within these tabletop objects have an indefinable nostalgic quality.

Virginia Damtsa: (+44) 07719-745-766 virginia@riflemaker.org

Tot Taylor: (+44) 07794-629-188 tot@riflemaker.org

79 Beak Street, Regent Street, London W1F 9SU +44 (0) 207 439 0000 www.riflemaker.org


'Secret Language'
oil on canvas (2016)
30 x 26 cm





WEN WU


The Chinese painter Wen Wu (b. 1978 Qing Dao) graduated from Tsinghua University, Beijing, having been tutored by Chen Dan Qing, the most influential art educator in China.

Wu's paintings counter the commercialisation of art production in today’s China, the sole aim of her canvases being aesthetic - primarily the representation of beauty. Her work breaks with the politically-orientated Social Realist style, popular from 1950-1970, toward a more poetic or ‘literary’ neo-realism taking its cue from Western sources, in her case everything from 19C French plein air romanticism through the English Pre-Raphaelites and the Victorian painters to the pre-WWII School of Paris.

In Chinese language systems, symbols or ‘characters’ depict the often monosyllabic words as pictograms or ideograms. Wen Wu takes the idea to its literal conclusion by using the physical shapes of these ‘syllables' to present them as human figures. Two hardcover books placed side by side become ‘Adam & Eve’, a woman’s body set within a paper fan is ‘The Original Force of Creation’. A young girl’s hand emerging from a folded edition becomes ‘My Roving Desires’.

Each small painting is figurative though the spirit of the work appears abstract. Pools of colour almost consume the subject within a world of shadows. Ochre and cerise fill both background and foreground while the execution of the image, the instinctive brushstrokes, the body shapes and also the body language of the models within these tabletop objets have an indefinable nostalgic quality.

Wen Wu will exhibit the complete set of 40 book paintings at Riflemaker in March 2015.

images: each painting: oil on canvas, 30 x 26 cm (2014)

Reading:

Asia Society. Chronologies for Mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong (1970)

Chu, Christina. 'Twentieth Century Chinese Painting: Tradition and Innovation’ (1995)

Clunas, Craig. 'Chinese Art and Chinese Artists in France' (1924-25)

Doar, Bruce and Susan Dewar. "From Tradition to Modernity" Asia-Pacific Sculpture News, vol. 1, # 1 (Winter 1995)