What is Revealed by the Tide: Wang Taocheng Solo Show
October 13th, 2012 - November 20th, 2012
Nestled squarely in between the various poles of male and female, East and West, modern and ancient, reality and dreams, capitalist and socialist, abstract and realist art, Wang Taocheng’s artworks float through multifaceted contradictions.
“What is Revealed by the Tide,” presents a complete overview of his artistic direction over the past year. It includes his favored format of hand-scroll paintings, portraits with a palimpsest perspective, several installation works and a short video made in the gardens of the Museum für Angewandte Kunst in Frankfurt.
“What is Revealed by the Tide” is the name of a nearly lost dance form, but what entrances the artist is the aesthetic atmosphere contained in these words. When he began researching the original dance, he encountered a dearth of information — but his sense of loss eventually transformed into a new understanding of the world: there is no source of everything; at the same time there is also no end to everything.
The artworks exhibited in “What is Revealed by the Tide” involve many fragments of stories and settings. While the narrative style is evident in these works, there is little direct or logical relationship between them. They depict ancient European court culture and Chinese gardens, as well as various still lifes, people and animals. Realism and abstract brush-strokes meld together, supporting each other while at the same time containing and limiting each other. This frustration of understanding also creates a sense of beauty and which engenders a subtle visual appreciation.
The two 5-m long scrolls which make up the “What is Revealed by the Tide” series explore this territory in luscious detail — a flooded corner of the Summer Palace filled with classical style fountains, a woman in period gown cradling her dog, a lone crow calling from the top of a Doric column.
This work is infused with a sense of foreboding – a decapitated figure, a blood spattered ground or a couple nervously whispering from a window. The scrolls reference Chinese traditional symbols and a Western baroque aesthetic reflecting Wang’s cultural deracination and sense of longing, desire and nostalgia.
What is Revealed by the Tide is at once an illustration of the artist’s vision of garden lifestyles and also a personal memory palace. It is also a collection of paintings, dance, music, video and rumors.