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  © Portrait Claire Dorn

© Portrait Claire Dorn


10.03.2023 - 16.04.2023
KÖNIG GALERIE Alexandrinenstraße 118–121 10969 Berlin
Opening THURSDAY, 9 MARCH | 6 – 8 PM

KÖNIG GALERIE is pleased to present the first exhibition, ON THE WAY TO PENGLAI ISLAND, of the Chinese-born, Berlin-based painter, Xiyao Wang, in the Nave of St. Agnes in Berlin. For this unique occasion, the artist has created a new group of large, abstract works that pictorialize an imagined journey to a mythical place, Penglai Island: a recurrent motif in Chinese literature for hundreds of years. The status of this island sanctuary is one dedicated to immortality, which is reached after a long, arduous passage across a body of water. Xiyao uses the idea of transit and a destination without concrete form or end, as a starting point for the ten tableaux that hang in the central nave of St. Agnes, each participating in the visual communication of this mythical journey.

Xiyao’s own trajectory as a painter mirrors the passage engendered by the works in ON THE WAY TO PENGLAI ISLAND, having been originally trained in various classical techniques – figurative oil painting, watercolours, pencil and charcoal drawings and sketches – before embarking for further study in Germany. Each of the paintings in the show gives material evidence of a formal vocabulary that develops from primary charcoal passages into colourful oil stick marks, which are layered on top of the blinding white backdrops and shaded black arabesques. The process of applying charcoal and paint is itself an act for Xiyao, and while the results reflect the spontaneity and immediacy of her movements – the expressive architecture is never planned ahead of time – they are not purely unmediated, either. Each painting emerges out of an intense interplay between the closeness to the work’s surface and the view from afar, as if hovering above a landscape viewed in flight. Together, the individual canvases spell out a sentence related to the show’s theme – “On the way to Penglai Island / the boat will be at sea for days and months / no one knows when we will arrive” – which brings to linguistic form something inherent in the movement within and between the paintings themselves.

Eingetragen am: Dienstag, 07.03.2023

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