As part of Asia Contemporary Art Week (ACAW) 2017 signature program: THINKING PROJECTS— pop-up exhibition series focusing on research-based artistic endeavors curated by ACAW director Leeza Ahmady, The Pre-existent Painting by Guo Hongwei converts the gallery into a natural history laboratory with three components. The first comprises of 80 to 100 new small watercolors rendered through relentless observation and conceptual deductions of numerous natural mineral samples. Guo has described the project as “a structural study of the manner in which painting systems connect with different patterns in the growth of minerals.”
The second section, “Natural Artificial Painting”, consists of waste from industrial painting processes that grow organically through the accumulation of dust and other materials. Although formed by chance, these fragments bear a striking resemblance to paintings created in the studio. In contrast, the third group of works consists of paintings on shells and pieces of coral that follow the organic structure. The three sections provide a fascinating insight into Guo’s practice as a painter both in oil and watercolor. Guo’s experimentations are juxtaposed with a series of drawings about India made in 1990’s by New York based artist Judy Blum-Reddy, exploring acts of tracing, archiving and ultimately processes of collecting that are evident in both artists’ practices.