The works presented by Xiyao Wang in A Carnival in the Forest were painted in the transitional period from summer to fall when the scorching sun no longer burns and before the harsh winter frosts its surroundings. A Carnival in the Forest – title taken from a series of works in the exhibition – is a snapshot of a moment in time, reminiscent of fleeting memories and vanishing dreams.
Event period: 09. February – 25. March 2023
Wang, Chinese-born and Berlin-based, composes ethereal large-scale canvases that echo a visual choreography of movements and hues. Large, spontaneous, and chaotic, Wang’s gestures are dispersed in the spatial arrangement as improvised dance steps. Whether planned or performed on the spot, the artist’s erratic brushstrokes develop on the canvas like musical notes from a dense melodic score.
Speedily drawn or gently smudged, dragged or erased, Wang’s lines are, as she explains, “extensions of her body, of my limbs”. Continuing her train of thought, extending the reach of her hands, the brushstrokes appear as individual stories unfazed by the limits of the canvas. Endless lines pile up on each other, fading and merging, each bearing its own narratives, like visual records of experienced or imagined moments.
Blurred traces of reality, Wang’s paintings allude to the figurative but fail legibility. One can glimpse the outline of spaces, objects and faces, but ultimately the shapes fade away in a dreamlike composition that flows on the canvas like a water stream. Freed and unrestricted, the artist draws lines that do not aspire to portray the outside world but have the pressing need to define a movement on an immobile canvas.
Whether influenced by the calligraphic and cryptic landscapes of Cy Twombly or Taoist art and ancient Chinese pictorial traditions, Wang conceived a style that combines her Eastern origins and Western upbringing. At the intersection of cultures, the artist’s pictorial language eludes definition and leads the viewer into a dimension where reality transitioned into something imaginary.
Xiyao Wang is one of the most prominent young voices in abstract painting. Born in 1992 in Chongqing, she currently lives and works in Berlin.
Renowned for her powerful, immersive paintings, Wang’s distinctive use of colour, volume and texture spells out her unique vocabulary. As a way for her to transfer experiences and feelings from her internal space into the external world, her work is highly informed by her personal awareness and sensitivity. Combining various techniques such as oil and acrylic paint, chalk, graphite and oil sticks, she seeks balance between the canvas and the body in physical displacement. Expressive multicoloured lines evoke the broadness of landscapes, movements and thoughts, composing lyrical arrangements that grace the canvas in harmonious, energetic movements layered onto compact pastel-coloured backgrounds. Through a profound knowledge of both Asian and Western traditions, she instinctively combines influences from Taoism and dance with martial arts. Brimming with energy, her large-scale works capture movement on canvas.
Solo exhibitions include Tang Contemporary Art, Beijing (2023); Galerie Perrotin, Paris (2022); Arndt Collection, Cape Schanck (2022); Geber Stauffer Fine Arts, Zurich (2021); Soy Capitàn Gallery, Berlin (2019). Her work has been included in recent group shows at MASSIMODECARLO, Milan (2022); Aurora Museum, Shanghai (2022); Jiu Shi Art Museum, Shanghai (2022); Tang Contemporary Art, Seoul (2022); König Galerie, Berlin (2021); and Spinnerei, Leipzig (2020).