Curator-turned-artist Wang Huangsheng makes professional debut with new exhibition
Boundary and space
Published: Aug 14, 2017 05:53 PM


Installation work Boundaries by Wang Huangsheng Photo: Xu Liuliu/GT

Installation work Ge Kong by Wang Huangsheng Photo: Courtesy of Beijing Minsheng Art Museum


The opening ceremony for Wang Huangsheng's exhibition Boundary/Space at the Beijing Minsheng Art Museum on Thursday was an important moment for the former curator as it marked the first time in his career he was introduced as a professional artist.

Just two months ago, Wang left his position as the curator of the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) Art Museum, where he worked for eight years, to focus on his career as an artist.

"Painting is an important part of my life," Wang told art site HiArt before the exhibition.

"Having been an 'amateur' for years, I finally have time to work on the art that I aspire to. In the past, during my time as a curator, I looked at exhibitions from a critical and technical perspective, which made art less fresh to me. But now, that feeling is returning."

With the help of curator and art critic Wu Hung, also a professor at The University of Chicago, Wang has reorganized all the artworks he has created over the years for the new exhibition in order to present his previous "amateur" art career to visitors.

"The visual impact that Wang's works bring is one of the main reasons that we chose to showcase them. But what's more, we want to explore the questions that the artist has in his mind. I ask visitors to contemplate how the artist transits between boundaries and spaces," Wu explained at the opening.

The exhibition not only features paintings, but also includes some new installation and video works such as Boundaries and Lights.

"Boundaries are everywhere, both visible and invisible, between here and there, now and then, reality and aspirations, safety and adventure," Wu wrote in the preface to the exhibition.

"Wang's artistic experiments are rich with exploration, and attempts to probe boundaries and space."

Due to the artist's years of experience with traditional Chinese ink wash painting, the brushwork in the artworks have been bestowed with powerful spatiality.

Wang is also known for his concern for and exploration of social realties like war, poverty, illness and religious feuds. Among some of his new works, gauze and wire fences play an important role.

"Gauze represents wounds and wire fences represent violence. One work features gauze that has been dyed red to express complicated feelings of pain and atonement," Wang said, explaining that he was inspired by a trip to Jerusalem last year. 

"When standing facing the Wailing Wall, I could feel the mixed feelings that the wall possessed. So I decided to build a wall of human feelings using pieces of gauze, which are a metaphor for injury, isolation, bleeding and healing," he added.

The exhibition is set to run until September 9.