Xiaoqu Wang 王晓曲
Artwork’s Title: Hole
Material Used: Oil on canvas
Studio Based: Beijing, China
Can you tell us about the process of making your work?
I will first make a quick line sketch to record the idea, after that there will be many versions of line sketches and color sketches before implementing on canvas. When I start implementing on canvas, I start with the background and render the background before I start the figure, the main part is formed with the gradual adjustment of the background.
How would you define your work in a few words (ideally in 3 words)?
Decoration, Dynamic, Subculture.
Could you share with us some insights on your ‘Hole’, painting? Is there any particular story behind this new work?
This series of paintings is based on the historical events of China’s “reform and opening up” in the 1990s, when going into business became a trend and many events and people pursuing wealth brought me impressions. This period brought many opportunities because of the reforms in policies, and many proletarians became rich overnight, giving rise to many fantastical events, such as the story of a top tycoon who exchanged canned food with Russia for some airplanes, or the fact that in some cities monarchs used to be speculated to sky-high prices. These stories, which were spawned by the pursuit of wealth, and the reform slogans put forward by the government at that time, all have a strong sense of image and symbolic, and I tried to express this magical power. I grew up in this era, and my father’s generation was more or less caught up in the wave of the times, so this is also a kind of reminiscence creation.
I collected the descriptions of the “rich” and “opportunities” in the documentaries and TV dramas of the time (e.g. the heroes of the TV dramas who became rich, and the rich people who experienced the rise and fall in history, these media narratives are “portraying a similar historical image.”) The film explores a theme of “desire” in conjunction with the emergence of architectural decorations from the period, such as marble textures, and old calendar photography, which, in a time of material scarcity, hosted popular simulacra and imagery of “wealth” while also painting a picture of a life of affluence. The theme of “desire” is explored.
The work “Hole” is the first work that I combined with the texture of flesh, which I associated with the process of painting marble.
Do specific artworks have been created by random experiments in your studio or do you usually come up with a particular concept or narrative in the very beginning of your artistic process?
At the beginning, I would set a narrative framework for my next work, and within that framework I would make a lot of associations, and the process was rather random.
Is there any particular theme that utterly triggers you to engage your art with?
First of all, I limit my work to portraiture, which is a very important subject. My work is mostly based on historical images of reality and contains a wide range of information, so it is easy to touch on specific themes, and some curatorial propositions can easily induce my ideas.
What would be the best way to exhibit your work?
I live in the outskirts of Beijing, where there are many empty billboards with dazzling reflections of stainless steel against a backdrop of tree canopy and sky, and I thought it would be nice to have my images on them.
Can you mention any Chinese artists you, lately or generally, take inspiration from? Also from any other country.
Duan Jianyu,Xie Nanxing,and Zhang Xiaogang. The artists from other countries are too many; I thought about Francisco Goya when I painting this .
What about the place where you work? What’s your studio space look like?
My studio is always changing. At one time the studio was very empty with only the most basic oil painting materials, then I started to expand my range of materials by grouping all the same forms of painting materials into small drawers.
Which are your plans for the near future?
I’m preparing for my next solo exhibition.
All images courtesy of the artist