3228 | WANG YIN Painted in 2013 UNTITLED(TEA CUP)


Author: WANG YIN 王音

Size: 100×80cm

Signed and dated: Painted in 2013


Final Price: RMB 820,000

2014 Wang Yin / P78-81 / Tang Contemporary Art
2016 Wang Yin: The Gift / P108-109 / New Star Publishing House
signed in Chinese, dated 2013
2014 Wang Yin, Tang Contemporary Art, Beijing
2016 Wang Yin: The Gift, UCCA, Beijing

Born in 1964, Wang has witnessed various important historical periods and movement trends of contemporary Chinese art since the "85 New Wave". Yet his art has always maintained a state of peace in an independent, alternative and restrained way. In terms of artistic clues, Wang’s paintings can be divided into three progressive stages. The first stage is based on the cultural radicalism in the 1980s. Starting from his personal art education experience, and based on the historical resources of left-wing realist art during the May Fourth Movement period, Wang began to explore the modernity of Chinese art and established his diachronic orientation in the early 1990s. The second stage was a short period of "Dada" around 2000. Through appropriation, parody, collage, forgery, and fiction of various image resources, painting styles and methods, Wang has established the value of painting pleasure based on synchronic intertextuality. The third stage began in 2003, when Wang once again turned his attention to the discourses of the modernity of Chinese art, including the influences of external discourses such as Realism, Modernism from western countries and the Su-style, as well as internal discourses such as internalization and nationalization. At the time, Wang has completely entered upon the "excavation” of these two intertwined discourse systems.
The third stage of Wang’s creation continues to this day. It has always maintained a dynamic change. Beginning in 2009, the dominance of the Su-style in Wang’s works has gradually weakened. The relationship between color, light and shadow in his paintings has been emphasized, while the details of brushstrokes and figures have been deliberately eliminated. In terms of the subjects, Wang began to focus on some extremely ordinary life scenes, including portraits of women holding cheeks, elderly people with a fan, and potted plants that stand alone. Typical works include Untitled(Tea Cup) and Shade of the a Tree . Wang once created a series of works showing the "free" state, and named them "Untitled". The characters in these works are mostly erased of the facial features, without any personality. The brushstrokes and image details are replaced by the large-scale flat-painted colors of lights and shadows, conveying a sense of stillness that belongs to the past. In Untitled(Tea Cup), Wang uses the gentle toplight and the flat painting with color blocks to portray a woman and an old man. Although their facial features are retained, the flatness of the expressions hide their stories. In addition, the two are in a space with dark and light tones, but the work presents a sense of flat collage. Obviously, Wang not only wants to reproduce a certain imaginary scene, but more importantly, to present it from a subjective perspective, which is puzzling. In the later work, Wang also has the control of space and displays his subjective consciousness: he erases the character’s facial details and only presents a female figure in a sitting posture, whose shadow projected on the wall is like a tree. The three spatial levels of the near, middle, and distant scenes in this painting are folded by two flat-painted tones, presenting a flat effect. The color contrast is relatively weak, and the overall tone is lightly warm. These are undoubtedly the subjective feelings of the artist.
From these two works, it is not difficult to see that Wang has made sufficient simplifications in space, shape, and color, which seems to be a dilution with intention. This has something in common with the post-impressionist artist Gauguin. Although Gauguin and Wang are in different cultural backgrounds, they both try to use the painting languages to express their accumulated emotions and memories. This undoubtedly leads to difficulty in understanding Wang’s works. We could only try to feel his painting languages from some signs and symbols, for his works are unprecedented and untraceable. Wang Minan believes, “Fundamentally, what Wang is trying to express is a kind of accent of painting. He tries to make himself feel difficulty when painting. And he can only paint in a stammering way. So he has to keep a distance from the paintings that are drawn fast and smoothly and the paintings that keep a close relationship with the times."
From this perspective, Wang has indeed distanced himself from the times and became a bystander. His "painting accent" diverts our attention to the subjects and techniques and make us focus more on the emotional reality of the artist instead . Perhaps this is a kind of contemporariness, like what Wang Minan said: "Perhaps, it is precisely because of its separation from the mainstream of contemporary painting that Wang Yin’s paintings are more contemporary."