Tang Contemporary Art Hong Kong is proud to announce that “Aura”, a duo exhibition for Xia Xiaowan and Chen Hui, will be on view from August 31 to September 27, 2017. The exhibition will showcase eleven works from two artists since 2011, including oil and watercolour paintings. Xia Xiaowan will show three new works created this year for the very first time.
The title of the exhibition, “Aura”, reflects the authenticity and uniqueness of the art creation. The idea of an aura is diametrically opposed to the popularized aesthetic that is commonly found in contemporary life. People today attempt to get close to art and make it consumable with a sense of universality, but the presence of the aura in an artwork conveys a distant feeling. An aura is like the ‘breath’ of an artwork; it breaks through the surface and brings out a sense of life and uniqueness in it.
Xia Xiaowan’s artistic aura has always come from his observations of human nature. Xia was born in 1959 in Beijing, and he made a name for himself during the “85 New Wave movement” of the 1980s; his interests in romance, soul, life, and individuality have already become part of the history of modern Chinese art. Across different creative periods, Xia has been persistent in his creation of various strange creatures. These heavy, repressed, and sometimes distorted living forms have found a place in Xia’s creative world through unimaginable living power. The exhibition presents three of Xia’s new works: “Sphinx”, “Medusa”, and “Sketch of Memories”. In these pieces, he solemnly constructs his understanding of the complex layers of life and his thoughts about lasting living power.
Compared to Xia Xiaowan’s pieces, Chen Hui’s work presents the spectacle of another glittering world. The artist excavates the present consumerist era for real states that have been obscured by the shiny exteriors of modernity; using realistic yet highly dramatic methods, she merges the external surfaces of her subjects with their internal substances. In her Your Portrait series, Chen uses extremely fine, delicate brushstrokes to explore and probe the universal theme of portrait painting, depicting what is hidden beneath the surface of everyday life and giving clues to her subjects’ spiritual and psychological states.
This exhibition reflects the two artists’ deep interests and explorations in humanity. Set against the multiple structures of society, these works map out the present era and highlight their own uniqueness. At a time in which smart technologies and consumerism interact, the farsighted will always look for a gleam of aura in the art, which one can feel its presence in the works of Xia Xiaowan and Chen Hui.