Post-80s Chinese Painter Wang Zhibo Heads to The Armory Show

Details of "We just love the beauty" by Wang Zhibo, 2012
(Courtesy Wang Zhibo/ Edouard Malingue Gallery)

Edouard Malingue Gallery will be bringing the works of emerging Chinese artist Wang Zhibo to The Armory Show. Before heading to New York, the exhibition will make a short stopover in Hong Kong on February 22-26.

Born in 1981, Wang is from Hangzhou and is part of the growing group of “Post-80s” artists emerging in China’s contemporary scene. Working with oil on canvas, Wang paints what seems at first glance to be uninspiring landscapes. Closer inspection shows a highly enigmatic ambience in the painting and the subject matter can only be called “external scenes” as Wang chooses compositions of modern China’s man-made outdoor environments. 

In “Red Fault,” two slabs of rock or crystal are on display in what resembles a park, illustrating a typical park environment in China. The sky is grey and it is hard to tell the time of day. If it were not a distinctly park scene, it would be difficult to tell if it is indoor or outdoor lighting. This ambiguous use of light reflects the reality of China where pollution can change the daylight and create a uniquely uncertain sense in the air.

The title of Wang’s solo exhibition is “Standing Wave” which refers to the stillness that occurs when two waves of equal but opposite forces meet. The outdoor scenes that Wang portrays are devoid of humans and movement, although they are places distinctly made for people to enjoy. This lack of life, together with her manipulation of light, imbues the paintings with a stiflingly still atmosphere. Even the water that flows from her park fountains has a deadness to it. Wang’s paintings force us to examine the Chinese environment up-close.

Click on the slideshow to see more work by Wang Zhibo