Tang Contemporary Art is proud to announce the two-person exhibition “Paysage” for Wang Du and An Xiaotong at Tang Contemporary Art Beijing Space II from July 14 to August 23, 2018. The exhibition centers on “paysage” (the French word for “landscape”), showing how Wang Du and An Xiaotong understand and reference the contemporary qualities of ancient images of landscape within the context of our current globalized society.
Wang Du’s landscapes once again employ the technique he has used in his past work to translate 2D images into 3D images. Wang selected three classic ancient Chinese landscapes: Wang Ximeng’s One Thousand Li of Rivers and Mountains and Yan Wengui’s Pavilions Along Mountains and Rivers from the Northern Song period, and Wu Yuanzhi’s Red Cliffs from the Jin dynasty, translating them into 3D images using glass. While these transparent, fragile, sharp, and somewhat dangerous glass landscapes create a formal contrast with landscapes painted on ancient scrolls, they also suggest an intrinsic cultural reciprocity.
An Xiaotong’s landscapes are genetically-modified products of familiar ancient scroll standards and the present glut of images. Using the traditional painting materials of water, ink, and rice paper, she creates a landscape scroll nearly sixty meters long that was certainly not painted. It has the translucency of a latent image on a photographic negative, presenting—in creative form—the multi-layered spectacle of a seemingly idealized utopia, but also a ruin that has just barely survived disaster, or a mirage that is about to disappear.
This presentation of landscape avoids strong conceptual references, and there is no flattery to delight the senses, no feigned cynicism, no lamentations, and no self-consoling metaphysics; there is only simple landscape. The works are presented in the exhibition with an introverted tranquility, using space to guide the viewer’s interventions and meditations. This also provides another possible identification for the dimensional changes in the work: multiple relationships between the viewers and the works is more interesting than the artists directly presenting their ideas.