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AO Vertical Space
2014.02.28 Fri - 2014.04.12 Sat
Opening Exhibition
02/28/2014 18:00
AO: Vertical Art Space c/o AO: The Photo Book Center 3-13/F, Asia One Tower 8 Fung Yip Street Chai Wan, Hong Kong 香港柴灣豐業街8號宏亞大廈3至13樓
+852 2976 0913
Opening Hours
Tues-Sat 10am-6pm

Sarah Green
Sarah Green

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Imaging the Mysterious *** A solo painting exhibition by Wang Min (Beijing, China)
[Press Release]

Imaging the Mysterious *** A solo painting exhibition by Wang Min (Beijing, China)


We are proud to present Wang Min’s first solo exhibition in Hong Kong at AO Vertical Art Space.

‘Imaging the Mysterious’ — Lao Tze Verse 25 from Dao De Ching

There was something chaotic yet complete before Heaven was born, lonesome and empty, independent without the need to change.

Around it moved and it endangered not.  It could be regarded as Heaven’s mother.  I do not know its name. But if I was forced to name I’d call it the Dao, forced to describe it, I’d call it ‘the Great’.

Great means ever flowing, ever flowing means far reaching, far reaching means returning.  The realm contains four Greats: the Dao, earth, heaven and human kind.

And this is where man resides. Man’s law comes from earth, earth law comes from heaven, heaven is directed by the Dao, and Dao directs itself.

About the artist:

Wang Min is an unusual painter. Tucked away in a humble studio around the 5th ring of Beijing he prefers to work in quietude. He grew up in Hubei, up in the mountains and some of his strongest memories of his birthplace are of rocks and nature. His father used to be a vigorous landscape ink painter and musician, yet like so many had to give it up in political turbulent times. Wang Min was one of the first generation to be allowed back to art school, first in Hubei. Later he was selected as one of the lucky few by the prestigious China Central

Academy of Fine Arts out of thousands of applications. Wang Min’s style is extraordinary to say the least. Earthy colors flow through the canvas in thick tactile layers. They vaguely resemble earth, rocks, mist and floating clouds yet are not straight-forward figurative. When you come across his work, you step closer as to examine it with all your senses. You want to see the details, feel the texture and smell the paint. Wang Min’s style is very far removed from the flat painted pop-inspired style of his contemporaries. His artwork always alludes to a sense of spirituality.

On a visit to his studio he explained his influence; “my work is inspired by my beliefs and how I see the world. I love nature and that’s what inspires me most.’

Wang Min is greatly inspired by Daoism. Daoism is a philosophical belief of a force greater than ourselves that cannot be named but is referred to as the ‘Dao’. It is greater than what our own human mind will ever be able to comprehend and the force behind the universe. The ‘Dao’ is also what moves the stars and forms the earth, it is chaos with an organic order, which manifests itself in rhythmic changes in the natural world such as the four seasons or ebb and flow. The material energy from Dao is ‘Qi’: the basic components of nature. Qi embodies everything alive and is present within every human being. Nature is neither good nor bad, it just does its thing, it is not ruled by one conscious active creator, it just is what it is.

As an artist this is exactly what Wang Min has been trying to achieve. He works with elements of nature: natural pigments, sap from a tree (lacquer), soil and egg yolk. Most of the elements are unpredictable, the colors look very different in its wet condition compared to the dry version and Wang Min has no control over the outcome. Wang Min consciously refrains from forceful interfering and has no forward set design in mind. By non-action (wuwei) and naturalness (ziran) he wants the elements to follow their own path and let the outcome be unpredictable and as such be closer to the principles of Dao.

Although deeply fascinated by authentic Chinese beliefs, his work is abstract and abstract paintings are a Western tradition. Moreover, part of the technique of using egg yolk to mix pigments is known as ‘tempera’ – an ancient Western technique used in paintings before oil paint became available. Wang Min is truly a cross-cultural artist -  inspired by Chinese philosophy, manifested in a Western expressionist abstract way by method of ancient western techniques using Chinese natural elements. With his very exceptional style Wang Min reaches out to a universal audience beyond territorial boundaries.

‘Imaging the Mysterious’ is Wang Min’s first major gallery show in a gallery setting, not just in Hong Kong but worldwide. Reclusive as he is, he always shunned the commercial art world and preferred to show in academic and museum settings only such as National Art Museum, Manet Club Beijing, Found Museum Beijing, Hubei Art Museum and Shiyan Art Gallery.

It is a true honor to bring Wang Min forward for AO Vertical Art Space. We do hope our visitors share our great enthusiasm.

Related events

Thursday, 27 February 2014: Press Preview (full day)

With the artist. To arrange an interview, please contact Siddal Lee.

Friday, 28 February 2014, 6–9 pm: Opening Ceremony

At AO: The Photo Book Center

G/F Asia One Tower, 8 Fung Yip Street, Chai Wan, Hong Kong

Friday, 28 February 2014, 8.00-10.30 pm: Sit-Down Dinner

With the artist. Invites only.

At Rooftop Garden

14/F Asia One Tower, 8 Fung Yip Street, Chai Wan, Hong Kong