“Leaves of Grass” by Beijing Painter Wang Gongyi
Why We Recommend it
Inspired by Walt Whitman’s eponymous poetry collection Leaves of Grass, Wang Gongyi depicts her love for nature by mixing mineral pigment, charcoal and ink on special Chinese silk.
Well-known in China’s contemporary art circle through her woodcut series Qiu Jin, Wang Gongyi, a teacher in the China Academy of Fine Arts, called for social reforms and represented the passion of a new generation. Awarded a grand prize at the “Second National Youth Art Exhibition” in 1980, the series made her an important figure in the historical narrative of contemporary Chinese art, especially associated with the fields of realism and nature.
As seen in this exhibition, Wang Gongyi’s tenacious affinity for natural elements is the central inspiration for her practice. Alluding to traditional Chinese landscape paintings and the abstract visual language that has been inherently part of modern art in the last three decades, Wang Gongyi’s works are characterised by a sublime knowledge of compositional balance and sensitivity towards the nuances of tone and colour, which has been attributed to her extensive academic training in China and abroad. Wang Gongyi’s visual language also speaks to the principles of Buddhism, a balanced simplicity with hidden depths that has long been an inspiration for her life and work.