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by Mulan Gallery
Location: Mulan Gallery
Artist(s): Simon WEE, MAO Lizi
Date: 19 Sep - 31 Oct 2014

Mulan Gallery presents “Contingency”, an exhibition featuring the abstract paintings of acclaimed Chinese artist Mao Lizi and Singapore artist Simon Wee.

Mao Lizi’s Ambiguous Flowers (“花非花”) series of semi-representational, semi-abstract oils on canvas hybridises realism and spontaneous abstract expression in a visionary and distinctive manner. His recent works have led to his being likened to a contemporary Qi Baishi, who once said that the poetic essence of a painting lies somewhere between likeness and unlikeness. The result of years of experimentation, this series marks the manifestation of a new important phase of Mao’s artmaking. Fusing his admiration for the contingency of Chinese traditional ink paintings and the spontaneous, free-form expressionism of Western modern art with a meditative philosophical and spiritual rigour, these works culminate in a Zen-like style that conflates and dances between multiple dualities at once: between the representational and the abstract, the real and the illusionary or potentiality, active dynamism and passive stativity.  What results is a purely contingent space of infinite potentiality and freedom.   

Simon Wee’s series of works showcases seemingly simple calligraphic strokes in otherwise blank space, strongly evocative of a Zen-like imagery. White, black and gold take precedence as the primary colours in these works marking a return to the artist’s signature style, using rice paper as the chosen medium. Each of these fluid and strongly rhythmic gestural brushstrokes serves both as a reflection and a unification of the yin-yang duality, interdependence and intertransformation of the artist’s inner state with the outer physical world. A natural extension of the artist’s inner recesses, these works exert a keen profundity in apparent simplicity.


Artist's Profile

Mao Lizi 毛栗子 ( b. Zhang Zhunli, 1950 in Shaanxi, China) is an eminent Chinese artist and a founding member of the prominent avant-garde Stars Art Group in late 1970s China.  In 1990, he was appointed Visiting Professor at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1990, and has since worked from both Beijing and France. In 1998, he was selected by the Guggenheim Museum to participate in “China: 5,000 Years, Innovation and Transformation in the Arts” (New York and Bilbao). In 2011, Mao’s first formal and large-scale solo exhibition in China, titled “Reality • Illusion – Mao Lizi Solo Exhibition,” curated by Peng Feng, curator of the Chinese Pavilion for the 54th Venice Biennale, was held at Asia Art Center in Beijing. Other notable exhibitions include: 1st and 2nd “Stars” collective exhibitions, Beijing (1979, 1980); “35th Anniversary of People’s Republic of China Exhibition,” National Art Museum of China, Beijing (1984); “The Stars: 10 Years,” Hanart Gallery, Hong Kong and Taipei (1989); “Chinese Contemporary Painting,” Hefner Gallery, New York (1987) and “Origin Point,” Today Art Museum, Beijing (2007). Mao’s works are collected by both Chinese and international museums and private collectors.

Simon Wee ( b.1946, Singapore) graduated from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Art in 1967, where he was first introduced to the basics of painting by renowned first generation master painter Chen Wen Hsi. Wee’s works have been widely exhibited across Asia, including Shanghai, Seoul and Japan, as well as Abu Dhabi. He previously showed at Mulan Gallery in “Beyond Simplicity,” a solo exhibition held in 2009.

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