James Cohan Gallery Shanghai will open on Nov 26 a solor exhibition by Shanghai-based sculptor, Wang Xieda. Sages’ Sayings is the title of the exhibition which refers to the artist’s rigorous study of ancient Chinese pictograms or ideograms and, in particular, fourth century Chinese calligraphy. On view will be Wang Xieda’s cast bronze sculptures, ink drawings, and his recent sculptural works made of rattan that are suspended from the ceiling and evoke drawing in space.
Artists from different cultures strive to find new contemporary language to keep pace with the transformation of artistic expression. Wang Xieda’s Sages’ Sayings sculpture series, which he started in 2002, embodies this fusion and conflation of cultural history. While the structure and spirit of
these works share essential similarities with Chinese calligraphy, they also focus on the material presence of bronze lines in which to create minimal, elegant forms rendering space and atmosphere. Western viewers might be immediately reminded of the attenuated or 'drawn forms in space' of sculptors such as Giacometti and David Smith when in fact Wang Xieda has been pursuing the realization of common human experience through the origin of language.
Also on view are two sculptural works made from rattan and paper pulp that hang in mid air. These works are a further extension of the bronze Sages’ Sayings sculptures, but the rattan sculptures also consist of intangible elements in which to complete them: the use of light and shadow. To emphasize what might be considered a fourth-dimensional way of seeing, the shadows of the hanging sculptures are cast on a fine white sand in a defined area below, refining their stark contrast of positive and negative, dark and light, inside and outside, illusion and reality.
A selection of works on paper from 2000 and 2005 are also included in this exhibition. The works from 2005 are directly related to the sculptures, consisting of rice paper, rubbings, paper pulp, ink wash and silica gel mounted to canvas. The Ran series from 2000 (ink paintings on rice paper) are being exhibited for the very first time.