Sunday, October 12, 2008

Qin Yifeng and Wang Ziwei

QIN YIFENG (b. 1961, Shanghai)
1961 Born in Shanghai
1983 Graduated from Shanghai Arts and Crafts College
1989 Graduated from the Fine Arts College of Shanghai University
Present Instructor, Fine Arts College of Shanghai University
Abstract Expressionist

Qin Yifeng was particularly interested in Abstract Expressionism and in how elements of this could be combined with the Chinese tradition. He is said to be influenced by Jackson Pollock's drip paintings of the late 1940s and early 1950s, and Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman's Color Field paintings. In these works the field of the painting was more important than internal structures in the composition. Qin is seen as integrating this idea with traditional Chinese artistic methods. His allover patterns originate in the columns of characters in traditional Chinese calligraphy. Qin has said, “The basic form and foundation of all Chinese characters is a line.” As a child he remembers writing as simple lines, and now he uses this concept in his paintings.

WANG ZIWEI (b. 1963, Shanghai)
Graduate of Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts (Shanghai, China)

Wang Ziwei uses an intercultural method of expression by blending different aspects of Chinese and American Pop Art and integrating the image of Mao into a contradictory context. Western cartoon or popular culture icons, most commonly Disney characters, are put in the context of Cultural Revolution propagandist imagery, or Mao's likeness is put into a Disney scene. I felt that his work was trying too hard, and that this concept has been used before to a greater effect. I understand the implications of juxtaposing Mao's image with something as disrespectful as bourgeois Disney characters, yet I feel that the concept of putting Mao in a capitalist context is rather transparent. However, I thin the few pieces he has done using Roy Lichtenstein's style and imagery (below) are a little more challenging, but probably don't provide the instant gratification of the Disney-related pieces.

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