Guo Haiqiang

07 Mar - 11 Apr 2015

Tempo, Space & Gravity
7 March – 11 April 2015

Boers-Li Gallery is delighted to announce the opening of first exhibition of Guo Haiqiang "Tempo, Space & Gravity" on March 7th, 2015. This exhibition features the works he made in the last 2 years.

Having experienced the rapid urban pace of Beijing and its art world for some time, Guo Haiqiang decided to return to Xi'an to look for a pace that suited him better: he took his bike to explore the characteristics of his surroundings, as a cyclist and an artist. His unique combination of physical effort and artistically liberated practice becomes the perfect balance to give his work a sense of direction. His works are pervasively straightforward, with a lucid sense of color, and reveal the artist’s perseverance.

Packing what he could carry on his professional road bicycle: some oil sticks, paper and a small easel, he traveled from one location to the next. His first trips took him to the countryside and the mountainous areas around Xi’an. In particular, to the Qin Mountains, one of the major east-west mountain range in southern Shanxi Province. The vastness of the mountain range stretching from the Tibetan Plateaus in the west to the Dabie Mountain of the coastal plain in the east, an area that houses a variety of plants and wildlife. Although certain aspects of its natural beauty were preserved, Qin Mountain at the present is accessible through highways, as seen in Guo Haiqiang’s renditions of its natural sceneries.

Guo Haiqiang makes a daily trip on his bicycle to a destination, a place not pre-determined but chosen based on his physical state. Rather than enclosing oneself in an artist studio where the making of an image has to rely on one’s memories, photographs or found objects, Guo considers the open-air his artist studio. The subject matter is chosen based on sheer physical displacement and efforts. The environment he experiences is then reduced to simple yet composite color blocks. The limited materials he has on hand and the fixed dimension of the image demand the artist to focus on making a concise yet complex image that represents the “scenery”. The images rendered not only embody the artist’s perception of the “natural” environment, but also projects the physical experience of having arrived at such place.

On the one hand, his en-plein-air painting may be a reminder of the early contemporary Chinese artists – The Wuming group artists of the 1970s, who took their paintings en plein-air during the Cultural Revolution period when artistic freedom was a luxury, let alone depicting the natural scenery. Yet, their attitude and urge to strive for artistic freedom propelled their actions. For Guo Haiqiang, on the other hand, the decision to give up a life in the big city, a hustling urban environment, the lure of capital and opportunities, as well as, the anxieties that comes with being part of a thriving art world, he chose to live where nature is accessible. His focus and drive are simple: to explore painting. To surmount the elevations of his environment the physical experience of displacement through sheer bodily efforts provides him a balance or certain “gravity”, both physically and in his state of mind, which defines his artistic practice as unique.

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