Chinese, b.1976, Chongqing, graduated from Sichuan Fine Arts Academy. Lives and works in Chengdu and Mianyang.
Kang Haitao is an oil painter who is fascinated by the ordinary and the everyday – a copse of trees, closed doors, a small house – but each of his paintings is intensified through close attention to detail and his desire to paint these scenes by night. Kang’s work builds on the Jimo (accumulating ink) technique of traditional Chinese landscape painting, creating an atmosphere of tranquility, unfamiliarity and mystery. Alongside his ‘night scenes’ series, Kang continues to explore more formal abstraction. His abstract works start from a blank space – the void. His process is almost meditative, a sort of antithetical response to the intensity of his ‘night scenes’ work, yet he does not consider these works to come from any psychological (conscious or unconscious) experience. Kang’s abstract works are created through a continuous affirmative and negative process, intuition and spirituality, absence and presence.
Kang has participated in several international exhibitions – Hong Kong, the USA, Korea, the Czech Republic and Italy, and his works are held by the Long Museum, Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum, Guangdong Museum of Art, Wuhan Art Museum and Italian National Agency for Tourism as well as art institution and private collectors.
Wu Jian’an was born in Beijing in 1980. He currently lives and works in Beijing as a professor and M.A. student Supervisor at the School of Experimental Art, Central Academy of Fine Arts, he is also a researcher at the Chinese Arts and Crafts Institute at Prince Gung’s Palace Museum, under the China Ministry of Culture and Tourism, and sits on the academic board of Beijing Zoo.
Naturally, Wu Jian’an intermixes academism and folk art. In his years as a graduate student, the artist had already collaborated with the shadow puppetry master Wang Tianwen. By incorporating the traditional techniques of shadow puppetry and paper cutting into the unique artistic language of his own, he opened up a channel of the integration of contemporary art and intangible cultural heritage.
From Seven Layered Shell, The Heaven of Nine levels, Ten Thousand Things to 500 Brushstrokes, Wu makes references to many images and allusions of ancient myths, historical legends, and modern civilisations in his series of paintings, which has made his work almost unique in contemporary art. With various materials including ox-hide, colored paper, xuan paper, wax, and thread—which he used to repeatedly reproduce and make collages to a considerable extent—he ultimately presents his artworks in the form of large-scale installation that brings about a mysterious visual experience. Wu Jian’an has been considered as an artist who has a genius for telling terrifying ghost stories. As those ghost stories and traditional techniques reveal a set of complicated social issues in contemporary society, Wu Jian’an can be seen as one of the most anticipated contemporary artists of our time.
Art Director: Li Xiaoshan
Curator: Lin Shuchuan
Venue: Art Museum of Nanjing University of the Arts.
No.15 North Huju Road Gulou District, Nanjing
Related links: http://www.nuamuseum.org/nuamuseum/index.html