Terrazzo No. 9

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  • Condition Report

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  • Provenance

    Galerie Frank Schlag & Cie, Germany
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    Essen, Galerie Frank Schlag & Cie, Chinese Abstract Painting Today!, 30 May - 8 August 2015, pp. 112-13, 170, 180 (illustrated pp. 112-13, 170)

  • Literature

    Jan Leaming, ed., Wang Guangle, Beijing, 2005, pp. 14-15 (illustrated p. 15)

  • Catalogue Essay

    A graduate of Beijing’s renowned Central Academy of Fine Arts, Wang Guangle is widely recognised as a pioneer of conceptual painting in China. Resisting conventional labels such ‘representation’ or ‘abstraction’, his critically-acclaimed paintings represent a significant artistic breakthrough, embodying the physical effort of painting and capturing metaphysical concepts such as the passage of time through painstaking repetition.

    As a founding member of N12, a collective of young artists unified by a desire to break away from the traditions of representational painting in favour of individual expression, Wang spearheaded a new generation of Chinese artists dedicated to exploring “all possibilities beyond the rules of the Academy”. Rebelling against the mainstream realist aesthetics and the notion of social utility which were key to Social Realism (the sanctioned artistic style of the era), his 2000 graduation show at the Academy showcased five paintings which had taken him almost half a year to complete. The title of the series, “3pm to 5pm”, referred to the period when Wang would paint in his studio, working to capture the rays of light projected across his studio floor by the setting sun.

    Terrazzo, a composite material consisting of chips of marble, quartz, granite, or glass poured with a binder whose use became popular in the 1970s and 1980s, first appeared in Wang’s oeuvre as flooring within the 3pm – 5pm series. Originally focused on portraying the light projections on the floor, after a month trying to complete one such painting Wang realised there were two directions to take: either he could attempt to capture the narrative aspect of the scene with light entering the room, or he could choose to emphasise the painting process itself by focusing solely on the terrazzo and stripping out all other details. Deciding on the latter, the artist explained his growing fascination with painting terrazzo and how it led to the birth of the Terrazzo series, a cycle of twelve dedicated works:

    The Terrazzo theme made me reflect a lot. Terrazzo is a very common construction material. I consider it as a testimony of a past ideology of a certain period in China. We eat the same, we dress the same, we use the same materials, etc. […] I wanted to be independent. If I was independent then I could have opinions, which were different from the existing ideology” (the artist, quoted in Garcia Frankowski, ‘Interview with Wang Guangle’, Intelligentsia, 5 September 2015, online).

    Terrazzo No.9 (2003), an important early work from Wang’s Terrazzo series, depicts a slender, elegant slab of terrazzo set against a deep, inky-black background. Utilising his academic training in realist techniques, Wang applied slow, methodical brushstrokes and an unemotional rendering of colour and form to create a startling new form of painting. Eschewing the simplistic label of ‘abstraction’, he sought to make clear that his work was the result of a concept, namely the time he spent labouring on the painting: “One painting could require three months or more. The time I spent on the painting was for me the important part for me” (the artist, quoted in Garcia Frankowski, ‘Interview with Wang Guangle’, Intelligentsia, 5 September 2015, online). Once he had managed to capture “every stone detail, every different shape and size, round/square/triangle” then he would consider the work finished. The laborious, quasi-ritualistic act of painting, akin to the traditional process of grinding inksticks with water to make Chinese ink, gave him new insights into the nature of time:

    The sensation of the passage of time always inspires me. Time changes everything, and when I can detect the pure movement of time, nothing else seems to matter. In these moments, there is very little else I would want to do.” (the artist, quoted in Lorraine Rubio, ‘artnet Asks: Wang Guangle’, Artnet, 24 November 2014, online)

    Wang’s work arguably transcended the efforts of other conceptual artists who explored the boundaries of monochrome painting such as Lucio Fontana, who punctured his canvases in an attempt to make form and color continuous with space and time (see his experimental Concetti spaziali, or ‘spatial concepts’), as well as Ad Reinhardt, whose Black Paintings represented for him ‘the strictest formula for the freest artistic freedom’ (the artist, quoted in Barbara Rose (ed.), Art as Art: The Selected Writings of Ad Reinhardt, California, 1991, p. 52).

    Testament to the uncompromising and revolutionary nature of his vision, Wang’s work forms part of distinguished public collections including the M+ Sigg Collection, Hong Kong; Guy & Myriam Ullens Foundation, Geneva; M+, Museum for Visual Culture, Hong Kong; Sammlung Goetz Collection, Munich; Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum, China; Vanhaerents Art Collection, Brussels; and the White Rabbit Collection, Chippendale, Australia. Wang has been honoured with solo exhibitions at venues including Beijing Commune (2009, 2011, 2015), and Soka Art Center, Taipei (2011). Since 2000, his work has been featured in over ninety group exhibitions, including Spin: The First Decade of the New Century at Today Art Museum, Beijing (2012); ON | OFF: China’s Young Artists’ Concept & Practice at Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2013); and 28 Chinese at Asian Art Museum, San Francisco (2015).

  • Catalogue Essay




    「水磨石這一主題讓我反思了很多。水磨石是一種非常常見的建築材料。我將其看做是對中國在一定時期過去意識形態的見證。我們吃一樣的食物、穿一樣的衣服、用一樣的材料,等等。 […] 我想要獨立。當我獨立了我才擁有屬於自己的、與現有的意識形態不一樣的想法」(藝術家,引自Garcia Frankowski,《採訪王光樂》,《知識階層》,2015年9月5日,截自網路)。

    《水磨石9號》(2003年),來自王光樂的《水磨石》系列中一幅重要的早期作品,描繪了以深墨黑色為背景的一塊纖細、優雅的水磨石。充分利用他的學院派現實主義繪畫技巧,王光樂以緩慢、有條不紊的筆觸,以及對色彩和形式施以理性的處理,創造出一種驚人的新繪畫形式。摒棄了「抽象」這一簡單標籤,他強調其作品是一種觀念的產物,即他在繪畫上勞動所花的時間:「一張畫可能要三個月或者更長的時間來畫。對我來說花在繪畫上的時間是很重要的一個部分。」(藝術家,引自Garcia Frankowski,《採訪王光樂》,《知識階層》,2015年9月5日,截自網路)。只有當他成功捕捉到「石頭上的每一個細節、每一個不同的形狀和大小,圓的/方的/三角的」,他才將作品視作完成。繪畫上的艱辛、近乎儀式,有著類似於在畫中國山水畫時的傳統磨墨過程,這使他對時間的本質有了新的認識:

    「時間的流逝感總是激發著我的靈感。時間改變一切,而當我能察覺到時間的純粹運動時,一切都顯得不重要。在這些時刻,我幾乎別的什麼都不想做了。」(藝術家,引自Lorraine Rubio,《artnet提問:王光樂》,《Artnet》,2014年11月24日,截自網路)

    王光樂的作品可以說是超越了其他探索黑白繪畫邊界的觀念藝術家,例如盧齊歐·封塔纳,通過將畫布穿刺,試圖讓形式、色彩與時間、空間形成連續性(見其試驗性的《空間概念》),以及艾德. 萊茵哈特,他的《黑色繪畫》代表了他的「最自由的藝術自由之最嚴格公式」(藝術家,引自Barbara Rose(編輯),《藝術作為藝術:艾德. 萊茵哈特文選》,加利福尼亞,1991年,第52頁)。

    王光樂的作品被許多重要的公共機構所收藏,證明了他在創作上毫不妥協以及具有創新性的遠見,其中包括香香港M+希克收藏;日內瓦尤倫斯基金會;香港M+視覺文化博物館;慕尼黑戈兹現代藝術收藏館;上海民生現代美術館;布魯塞爾Vanhaerents藝術收藏;以及白兔澳洲齊本德爾中國當代藝術收藏 。王光樂曾在包括北京公社(2009年、2011年、2015年)和台北索卡藝術中心(2011年)等展館舉辦個展。自2000年以來,他的作品參加了超過九十個群展,其中包括「自旋:新世紀的十年」,北京今日美術館(2012年);「ON | OFF:中國年輕藝術家的觀念與實踐 」,北京尤倫斯當代藝術中心(2013年);以及舊金山「中華廿八人/28 Chinese」,亞洲藝術博物館(2015年)。

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Property from an Important Private European Collection

Terrazzo No. 9

titled and dated ' "Terrazzo No. 9 [in Chinese]" 2003' on the reverse
oil on canvas
180 x 140 cm. (70 7/8 x 55 1/8 in.)
Painted in 2003.

HK$2,000,000 - 3,000,000 

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Charlotte Raybaud
Head of Evening Sale, 20th Century & Contemporary Art

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

Hong Kong Auction 24 November 2019