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Three Kinds ofSpace:Wang Huangsheng's World of Perception

Fan Di'an Director of National Art Museum of China

What have been expressed in Wang Huangsheng's paintings in many years, are two different but related visual situations; one is a spatial situation constructed by fragments of building images, another is a situation of sense of time constructed by flowers and plants in the space. His artistic interest as well as his attention paid to life and things are represented on presentation level while in a deeper level, it is his humanistic emotion that is revealed, namely his experiences and care for the essence in the normal state of things and the transient changes among different conditions. 

In the Heaven and Earth series, Wang Huangsheng adopted a lot of symbols of buildings from southern part of China; the composition way they are on the picture is not the real condition of the buildings, but imagery represented by the artist based on his inner mood or rhythm of emotion. In one word, the "heaven and earth" under Wang Huangsheng's brush is a world associated with east Guangdong province which is a southern area of his own living experiences; the space in the works usually possesses a increasing depth but is often combination of spatial fragments produced when being separated and blocked. He coloured the atmosphere of the space with well controlled inferior grey tone and produced the immersive effect like being in it by oneself. The scenery of "a winding path leads to a quiet seclusion" in ancient works became "landscape" with "a winding place leads to a quiet seclusion" in Wang Huangsheng's paintings, like the spatial sense experienced by a nightwalker. 

His Carefree series is different in content from the Heaven and Earth series. He has a different angle of view from both the existing tradition and other art masters of today. He chose the mien of flowers and plants in their life cycle with both bloom and decay, to draw the whole appearance of them in the large space of nature; thus he painted a kind of "flower and bird" with new conception. During this process, Wang Huangsheng is on one aspect pursuing "ancient taste", his rich cultivation in classical poem and his poem creation started from his childhood enabled him to bring poetry naturally into the brush strokes in painting and both brushwork and ink colour in his painting of flower and plant featured delicate, vivid, fresh and clean. On another aspect, what he want to express is his yearning for going beyond the noisy world, thus, he always collects materials upon observing the nature and has a good accumulation in his mind; when he presses the brush on the paper, it is the overall manner and perception in his imagination and mind that is painted.  

The best way to appreciate these two kinds of artworks by Wang Huangsheng is to "overlap" them—in my mind, the spatial meaning of these two kinds of works can be connected and even mutually reflect and promote one another. It seems that only in this way could one acquire a good realization of his art: his art is between close view and meditation, between passionate reflection and reminiscent narration. Thereupon, I also feel that this creation approach of him is related with his work experiences in reality life. As the director of an art museum, he is very professional and senior in the art circles; his comprehension and research of contemporary art as well as his role in many contemporary art projects in Guangdong Museum of Art as organizer, curator and executer, have given him special perception and observation upon space; while his psychological as well as thinking characteristics has inevitably given him the sense of "space", which is both visual and cultural. It seems that all his paintings are finished in the state in which memory, recall, favor and experiences are interwoven; transcendental yearn generated the historical sense in his painting, while the contemporary sense made the images full of direct visual charm. Therefore, his works have elegant taste and sustained flavor, together with the classical tradition in painting and modern expression temperament in fantastic and lyric expression. 

In early winter of 2006