Memories of West Lake: Wang Gongyi, 西湖志:王公懿

by Wang Gongyi

cover of Memories of West Lake: Wang Gongyi/ 西湖志:王公懿

In the early 1980s, Wang Gongyi gained wide recognition in China after being awarded first prize in the second ‘National Youth Fine Art Exhibition’ for her powerful suite of seven woodcuts devoted to the Chinese feminist and revolutionary martyr Qiu Jin.

The daily practice of meditation that became an important aspect of her life during the years between 1989 and 2003 was accompanied by a broadening of her means of expression that now included not only calligraphy and ink painting but also installations such as Listen, Look, Taste, Smell, But Do Not Ask (1993) and Rhythm (1994), that she has described as “a way to compare the aesthetical rhythm in the act of making an art work with the movement of mountains, waves, and other natural phenomena. They were similar in the cyclical and rhythmical movements, the endless repetition and variation.”

For the last few years, she has begun reinterpreting Chinese landscape paintings, neither conforming to nor rejecting traditional style, but instead employing lines and strokes as well as shading, dots and washes as with other abstract forms.