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Here And Now (在这里) by Wu Qiong (Ode To Art)

I wasn’t expecting to be star struck that day since the event I was attending was a gallery exhibition.
The exhibit titled ‘Here & Now’ showcased a series of paintings as well as sculptures by the internationally acclaimed Wu Qiong who spent a year preparing for it.
He was the second person from the left in the picture and I wasn’t expecting an artist to look so young! Maybe just because I was expecting someone older since his paintings have been acquired by the Beijing Poly International Auction, the biggest auction house in China.

”Here and Now represents an entry point into a state of mind or being, with no single definitions or explanation as to where ‘here’ is.” – Wu Qiong
Wu Qiong’s distinctive cartoon style is obvious, and it resonates with the aesthetic of a generation absorbed with graphic novels, comics, digital worlds, animations and gaming.
His paintings introduce dreamscape scenarios that would provoke thought or trigger memories and experiences. I could easily experience why since my thoughts started streaming in like running water after viewing his paintings.
Despite the humanoid forms from his paintings portrayed standardisation of upturned faces, shut eyes and mouth agape, each character features underlying wealth of emotions depending on individual interpretation.
Instead of boring you with long story, here are some keywords which formulated in my mind when I view these paintings below. (My opinions may differ from yours.)
‘In the Clouds of Our Dreams’ – Comfort, Peace, Soothing
‘Open to the Elements’ – Exploration, Zen, Tranquillity
‘Heroes of Old’ – Ambition, Victory, Patriotic
In the Clouds of Our Dreams
Oil on Canvas, 120 x 150cm
Open to the Elements
Oil on Canvas, 110 x 150cm
Heroes of Old
Oil on Canvas, 110 x 150cm
It was quite to cute sight to see a couple posing exactly like the image of ‘Always and Forever’. They will always be together no matter what was rather obvious in this painting. Their attire seems like they were working adults in a romantic dating process, with the vast and boundless skies as background adding focus to the couple.
Waiting for mine to appear too!
Always and Forever
Oil on Canvas, 102 x 80cm
I have taken some photos of Wu Qiong sculptures, some cast in bronze while others were stainless steel. It was said that these sculptures were made after the paintings were painted. It is a milestone for Wu Qiong, who is celebrating his transition to sculpting as well.
Unlike the paintings, the sculptures were cast from the same material throughout, without additional colours and background, making it more challenging to interpret the exact circumstances the characters were in.
‘I Will Guard You Silently’ depicts how the male would shower the female with his unconditional love, arms around her shoulder and keeping her close by his side. The expression this time meant that it was normal and naturally his duty to do so while the girl was comfortable under his care.
As for ‘Guest from the Snowy Mountain’, it would be every little kids’ (or even adults’) dream to cuddle with a ‘stuffed animal’. In this case, he was so lucky to have found one tame creature from the snowy mountain, furry warm as well as large enough to snuggle comfortably with. How I hoped I was the one in that position snoozing off.
I Will Guard You Silently
Bronze, 62 x 73 x 53cm
‘Guest from the Snowy Mountain’ Ed 1/8
Stainless Steel, 90 x 50 x100cm

There was a distinct differences from the 2 paintings below as compared to the rest of the paintings. It was actually a collaboration between Wu Qiong and Eleanor, whom was his student.

My guess would be that the humanoid form was painted by Wu Qiong since that could be his ‘trademark’ which could be found everywhere in the gallery spaces while the creative artsy doodling was done by the young talented Eleanor who graduated from an art school.

In ‘Seeking Peace Admist the Chaos’, I felt that it was an interesting combination whereas the doodles represent a complicated mess of chaos, overtaking 3/4 of the canvas while the man with a small umbrella in hand, remained serene despite the looming chaos.

As for the ‘Boundless Skies, Endless Visions’, my interpretation from the look of the painting was that the person deep in thoughts, residing in an ethereal plane, having countless visions from blankness. Somehow similar to the big bang theory. I guess the contrasting colour of black and white always works to stimulate wonder and fascinations.

Seeking Peace Admist the Chaos
Oil on Canvas, 100 x 80cm
Boundless Skies, Endless Visions
Oil on Canvas, 100 x 80cm
Escaping Into the Infinite
Oil on Canvas, 110 x 150cm
I had a great time interpreting the emotions of each characters from Wu Qiong’s solo exhibition. Why not try interpreting them yourself at ‘Here And Now’ (在这里) by Wu Qiong
Date: 8 Nov – 14 Nov 2015
Time: 11am – 9pm (Sun – Thur) ; 12 noon – 10pm (Fri – Sat)
Venue: Ode to Art Raffles City Gallery
Free Entry

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