The National Museum of History, together with TKG Foundation for Arts & Culture and the Art Museum of Beijing Fine Art Academy are pleased to present Coming Full Circle－Peng Wei Solo Exhibition, on view from August 7 to September 20, 2015, curated by Rudy Tseng. Centering on the idea of lightness, the exhibition space — specially designed by Japanese design studio Noiz Architects — engages Peng Wei’s oeuvre in a creative dialogue that highlights the aesthetics of new ink. “From the Past to the Present,” an art talk with the artist, the curator, and Dr. Kui-Yi Shen and Dr. Julia Andrews, who are specially invited from the United States, also takes place on the opening day, August 7 from 10 a.m to 12 p.m.
At the turn of the twentieth century, an intense debate was waged in Chinese ink painting circles over whether to hold fast to the tradition or to pursue Westernization. In the time that followed, a number of artists actively sought out a variety of potential creative possibilities with their inherited artistic legacy. The most famous of this group of artists was Chang Dai-chien (1899-1983), best known for his freehand ink and color splash techniques. The National Museum of History had the good fortune of forging a deep friendship with the great master Chang Dai-chien at the time of our own beginning, and has since served as a venue at which a number of famed traditional and modern ink painters can express themselves and make their mark. The NMH continues to approach ink painting with a proactive attitude of openness, support, and mutual exchange as we welcome a succession of diverse new artistic trends.
The work of Peng Wei (b. 1974) combines expressions of classic aesthetics in Chinese portraits and contemporary living condition. She maintains the essence of traditional Chinese water and ink paintings, and takes the tradition out of flat context, from paper to multi-dimensional spaces. Peng not only preserves traditional Chinese shanshui in her works, but also introduces the cultural and historical background carried by scrolls and albums to viewers in the form of installation art. Her works concern the past of art, including the wisdom, memories, sorrows, and sense of reality found in ancient artworks. With her traditional methods, she departs from tradition, yet brings traditional texts and contemporary concepts together on paper. Although Peng alters the form of traditions, she does not attempt to transform traditions, but to find the balance between the past and present of art. Peng Wei has held several solo exhibitions in Taipei, Hong Kong, and China since 2003, and also participated in many international group exhibitions and art fairs, including: Beijing International Art Biennale (2003, 2005); the 10th Asian International Art Exhibition, Japan (2004); Contemporary Ink Paintings, Germany (2008); Europalia International Arts Festival-Attitudes-Female Art in China, Belgium (2009); Exhibition of Landscapes in Chinese Contemporary Art, Switzerland (2011); Breakthrough: Work by Contemporary Chinese Women Artists, Maine, US (2013); INK REMIX: Contemporary Art from Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, Australia (2015).
Over 50 of Peng’s works have been selected for this exhibition, including the Lost Stones Series, Letters from a Distance, Coming Full Circle, Good Things Come in Pairs, and Shoe Series, all of which epitomize the artist’s approach to art over the last decade. Peng Wei’s artistry is audacious and detailed, tending towards innovation and transformation. She skillfully applies motifs and styles from the tradition of ink wash in her exploration of two-dimensional media, which she then extends and transforms into three-dimensional forms. She gently and elegantly traverses the boundary between the traditional and the contemporary, not only evoking a free and unencumbered contemplation of ink wash tradition but also constructing a unique and individual aesthetic style.