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In this Focus presentation, October Gallery will exhibit a selection of artworks by Tian Wei, renowned for his striking monochromatic canvases in bold colours that explore the written word and the plasticity of meaning.
Both theoretically and formally, Tian Wei’s work constructs a bridge between things that appear as polar opposites or complementary pairs. Using the Chinese idea of contraries held in balance (yin and yang), words and quotations in minute script fill the backdrop of Tian’s paintings, forming a patterned ground on which larger semi-abstract shapes are drawn. On trying to read these foregrounded lines as Chinese characters, however, anyone familiar with Chinese ideographic script is soon frustrated, since the unfamiliar writing can only be resolved in English. In fact, the cursive lines spell out simple English words, such as ‘sexy,’ ‘soul’ and ‘red.’ These selected English adjectives and nouns represented in Chinese calligraphic style give the viewer insight into the artist’s lived experience of an emerging synergy between eastern and western sensibilities.
Tian Wei (Born in 1955, Xi’an, China. Lives and works in Beijing, China.)
Tian Wei left China for Hawaii, in 1986 to pursue a career in the arts. Upon completing his MFA in Hawaii in 1990, he subsequently settled in California. After years of travelling back and forth between America and China, he has been based in Beijing since 2011. October Gallery held Tian Wei’s first solo exhibition in the UK in 2014 and a second in 2018.
Tian Wei’s work can be found in the collections of M+, West Kowloon Cultural District, Hong Kong, the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, USA, MoCA Shanghai, Shanghai, China, the Sigg Collection, Switzerland, the National Art Museum of China, Beijing and the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts (SCFA), Hawaii, USA, amongst others.
October Gallery, 24 Ol Gloucester Street, London WC1N 3AL