nca | nichido contemporary art is pleased to present “Dust of mind”, the first solo exhibition of Taiwanese artist Pin-Ling Huang in Japan. Huang creates landscapes deeply weaved with lyricism and characterized by small elements, which tell us of her memories and experiences. These imagined landscapes are born from a new awareness the artist gained of the relationship between herself and the exterior world (society) during her years abroad. Using her memories and the many sketches she writes down as the core aspect of her work, Huang goes back and forth between past and present, capturing the small elements that are so easily missed out, and these images, layered on the canvas, blossom into unique landscapes through the brush’s traces with gentle colors and texture. These images, changing depending on the viewer’s stance, strike our emotional chords with both feelings of nostalgia and pleasure.
This exhibition will present around 20 new paintings including 5 large-scale works.
Furthermore, Huang’s works will also be shown at our booth exhibition for the Tokyo Art Fair which will take place this March 16-19 at the Tokyo International Forum. We are looking forward to seeing you.
A Brushstroke, a Poetic Floating
“These memories are scraps of life snatched from the void. No mooring. Nothing to anchor them or hold them down. Almost no way of ratifying them. No sequence in time, except as I have reconstructed it arbitrarily over the yea brs: time went by. There were seasons. There was skiing and haymaking. No beginning, no end. There was no past, and for many years there was no future either; things simply went on.” (George Perec, “W or the memory of Childhood”)
Unlike mist which vanishes in the blink of an eye, time is more like dust: hardly perceived by the human eye; it is nevertheless steadily floating in the air, travelling from place to place carried along by the breezing wind, and finally stops, gathers, and mingles into a more substantial conglomerate. Embodying traces of different realities, this assemblage contains various marks of life which are plentifully loaded with meanings and values hidden beneath what awaits to be discovered by someone special. Admittedly, to give time such a shape is never a simple task; it requires one’s endless pursue for memory and beauty.
Shaping Memory and Time
The work of Pin-Ling Huang always finds its foundation in such a mindset. Constantly digging deep into her inner self, the artist also reaches out into the vastness of the world. After graduating from L'École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Paris and returning to Taiwan, her hometown - Hsin-Chu - has become the cardinal point of her artistic journey. The geological condition in Hsin-Chu does not modify depending on the seasons, yet the wind is stronger if compared to other places in the island, here the name of “city of wind”. Such a unique weather allows Huang to see clearly from her second-floor studio window the waving of the tree branches situated within a short distance. The window glass always separates the inner dimension from the outside world, thus it seems to exist between these two dimensions, a partly connected yet simultaneously heterogeneous universe. With the changing and passing of time, the scenery repeats itself as a movie continuously playing in a loop that eventually creates a vague status quo, further blurring the boundary between facts and fiction, leaving us with mere impressions of rivers, lakes, sea, forest, clouds… as well as with pieces of memories without beginning or end. These elements that the mind does not fully process or define gently settle in the canvas in their purest nature.
However, before immersing herself into the actual creation process, Huang usually accumulates huge amount of drafts made by pencil, watercolors, or even mineral pigments. She then continues to survey and sort out these materials to discover the real substance hidden inside. Time is considered the most crucial element to bring drastic changes to the above material; as soon as the process starts to ferment, parts of these drafts will further evolve into brushstrokes of real creation. This process may not be too different from the one employed by other artists, yet what ought to be emphasized here is the literature Huang picks up to read randomly right before she starts to paint. To name a few: Ren-Zhi
s Wei “Nature Mortes et Paysage (Still Life of Scenery, 2011)”, Kazuo Ishiguros “A Pale View of Hills” (1982), and “Gaétan Gatian de Clérambault’s eye”. From prose, novels, to medical literature about cases of diseases, these words that stretch across different genres and realms allow Huang to contemplate on the similarities and differences of expressing life through language and painting. Maybe on an unconscious level, this can be the reason that allows her work to have a literary beauty that is rare among other young artists.
Vague, Leisurely Warm Sceneries
In order to successfully complete her work at once, Huang devotes herself to stretching her body in front of the canvas. The continuous practice of waving brushes in the air allows the body to acquaint itself with the canvas and shake off any fear that may arise when faced with the various limitations materials and size can cause. From palm-size works to large-scale diptychs, Huang starts her work in a well prepared and rational status, yet she also uses splashing techniques along the way to create a more accidental visual effect, leading to some pleasant surprises that even she herself cannot foresee. Her brushes spreading out on the canvas carry pure colors that are sometime thick and sometime light. She occasionally takes a pause to examine the proportions in the composition, the lines and texture created from the paint layers, and the objects she will eventually “place” inside. All of what exists in her head which cannot be expressed in words suddenly blends into something familiar yet alien at the same time, as the view of a deserted landscape simultaneously evokes in the viewer extremely personal emotions as well as a commonly shared sense of loneliness.
Taking “Dust of mind” as the title of her first exhibition in Japan, it is easy to notice the slow yet steady rhythm that the artist tends to develop as if the prelude of a movement. Different from her previous works that constantly use huge amount of white to build the image, this time Huang picks up darker hues, such as blue and ink-like black, to create sharp contrasts. The vast color blocks that lie across the whole canvas show either a milky sky welcoming its dawn, a dark soundless night; other times, we may see a fierce wind blowing out in the rain, or a seemingly ice-wall that never melts…. These imageries relate us to the lines of Marcel Proust, written both densely and carelessly, vaguely and leisurely. They do not contain any obvious plot, but exist more in the form of a stream of consciousness. Here past, present and future blend together, creating a vast web whose real meaning can only hope to be revealed when looking back after a certain amount of time. And even though it may never be thoroughly understood, it still exists as a form of mystery, requiring us to pay more effort into thinking.
Nevertheless, the lack of narrative is not at all tedious; instead, we can feel a sense of warmth and security. The reason lies solely in the fact that the broad viewpoints that found their place into the image are the spiritual imaginaries collected and transmuted by the artist’s most sincere feelings. The charm of Huang’s creations can be found everywhere, for they symbolize all the real things and sceneries that will eventually turn into fantasy and imagination - which is actually the most realistic fact – whether it is the sunshine falling on the fiercely moving waves like pieces of snowflakes, or the green corals which, though originally growing undersea, find themselves on a gray white ground as an independent plant, they all reveal a conflicting beauty. Eventually, whether encountered by chance or on purpose, what viewers like you and me should do when coming across Huang’s works, is simply to throw one’s own body and soul into the canvas and listen to the words whispered by the blowing wind, allowing oneself to transit to another universe far away, floating poetically like dust of mind.
2014 DNSAP L’École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris
2009 BFA: Taipei National University of the Arts, Taiwan
Solo Exhibition: "D'ailleurs", Galerie Paris Horizon, Paris (2015); "Inner Land", A Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan (2015); "Lonely Land", Beaux-Arts de Paris, Paris (2014); A Piece of Peace”, MU Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic (2013), and others
Group Exhibition: “A Place of One's Own” JuMing Museum, Taipei (2016), "Remaining Sceneries", galerie nichido Taipei, Taiwan (2016); "I Send You This Short Note | Co-Exhibition by Hua-Chen Huang and Pin-Ling Huang", Winwin Art, Kaohsiung, Taiwan (2016); "New Abstract Painting in Taiwan" , JinLü Art, Taipei, Taiwan (2015); "What are we mapping", The Pier-2 Art center, Kaohsiung, Taiwan (2014): “Melting Potes! 2013”, Musee du Montparnasse, Paris (2013), “The Islands of The Day Before”, Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan (2013)