Featured image: Wild Garden, Woman and Wall No. 3 (2019), by He Duoling. Source: ICM
The Rebirth in the Spring Breeze: Art Exhibition of He Duoling showcases nearly 50 pieces and sets of sketches and oil paintings which cover various periods of He’s artistic pursuit, including his new works from 2019. From these exhibits, visitors will catch a glimpse of his artistic development and feel his vigorous and endless creativity.
This exhibition also showcases House with No Roof and Wild Garden, Woman and Wall, the large-scale paintings completed by He last year. He has a fondness for architecture; he contemplated and constructed the relation between the figures and the architectural environment in his Labyrinth Tower series, and he designed the He Duoling Museum by himself. He thinks highly of architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s ‘less-is-more’ approach and has integrated the architectural philosophy into his artistic language: using subtractive techniques, he conveys the subtlety and fullness in the refined yet simple composition of his paintings.
The figures depicted by He are mostly ordinary people from real life, some of whom are his friends or family members (to draw their portraits requires the artist’s projection of private feelings). Nevertheless, these figures have transcended the mundane reality since they are elevated in the realm of art – they are who they are, but also no longer as such; they have already entered the artist’s imaginative context, evoking a sense of mysterious vagueness and a metaphorical, poetic quality. Except for the Wild Flowers series that he is currently obsessed with, he mainly portrays human beings, including the elderly and babies, but mostly young women.
Women are undoubtedly the subject that can best represent the beauty of divine creation, and women who ‘lead us to transcendence’ are his favourite subject. In his works under the Rabbit series, such as The Rabbit Runs Downhill, The Rabbit Dreams of the Apple, Ophelia the Rabbit and Shalott the Rabbit, the background is shrouded in blurry mist; figures in the paintings, especially Ophelia and Shalott, have been transplanted from the Western context to the specific ambience created by the artist and therefore attributed an indefinite quality of polysemy to the works, leaving viewers room for multiple interpretations. Meanwhile, their bodies are frail and fragile like the exquisite eggshell porcelain that can easily break at the merest touch, just as beauty itself is delicate, elusive and transient.
He Duoling is a prominent figure in the development of contemporary Chinese painting. He rose to fame in the 1980s and his works such as Spring Winds have Awoken, Youth and The Crow is Beautiful have brought a fresh visual experience to viewers and caused a sensation in the art scene. During his artistic career spanning over four decades, He has always lived in Chengdu, Sichuan province–the city where he was born, except for a short journey to America.
Instead of yearning for the so-called ‘centre’, He Duoling chose to stay at the periphery and adhere to his artistic path. Distancing himself from the bustling, chaotic and restrictive ‘centre’, he instead delved into his own world without any distraction and roamed the realm of art in response to the call of beauty, and reached his self-determined centre in total freedom and relaxation. As he absorbed the essence of both Chinese and western paintings and explored variations while staying true to his roots, He has acquired exquisite painting skills and developed an elegant and poetic, simple yet mysterious painting style.
When: November 6, 2020–March 21, 2021
Where: Macao Museum of Art, Avenida Xian Xing Hai, NAPE, Macau
How much: Free admission
For more information, check the event’s official website