Embrace the Healing Power of Art
The outbreak of the COVID19 in China has had a tremendous impact on not only the health and economics of but also the daily life in China. It has all but halted the lives of students, workers, and families, keeping most people in isolation as the country fights the pandemic. Given this situation, the Chinese art community is trying their best to stand together to fight the coronavirus by initiating various activities including charity auctions and sales, donations and online exhibitions. We have been thinking and reflecting, how can art do more? We believe that the healing power of art can be a beacon of escape, inspiration and solidarity in these dark times.
As a member of the Chinese Contemporary Art community, A Thousand Plateaus Art Space aims to share an example of art created as a form of spiritual healing while fighting a physical ailment by presenting an online exhibition of the artist Wang Chuan (b.1953) - a Chinese avant-garde abstract painter, who suffered from cancer at the end of the 90s. Fighting the illness led to a period of intense self and spiritual reflection which ultimately empowered Wang Chuan’s artistic inspiration. His abstract ink paintings were not only a cathartic expression of his emotions in the face of death, but also the act of painting became his source of spiritual healing allowing him to process his trauma, and his work from this period became a time capsule of his path to existential acceptance and inner peace. Like the fast spreading cancer to Wang, COVID19 is an unexpected existential trauma to the Chinese people. Wang Chuan (b.1953) has dabbled in realistic paintings in his early years, and he is a key figure in “Scar Art” movement in China. He later turned to abstract painting during the 1985 New Wave Movement and became a significant pioneering explorer of abstract ink painting. In the late 1990s, sudden illness brought Wang Chuan to a critical turning point that helped transform his artistic practice. Painting became a personal spiritual journey in the face of illness. Wang Chuan’s ink paintings hum with a quiet energy that tends to be spread evenly throughout each work, with stronger eddies here and there, sometimes punctuated by dots or color, but rarely a major concentrated vortex—just as the energy in an endlessly flowing river. There are nodes of energy where lines thicken, and the lines intersect in a web that stretches to infinity. Recognizable shapes on the verge of emerging into plain view dissolve before solidifying: in an act of non-attachment, Wang Chuan releases the form rather than holding it close. This kind of introspection and healing creation arises from the artist's personal encounters with death. It unexpectedly allows the artist to instinctively react on the impermanence of life and reflect on the spiritual existentialism, as well as interpersonal and metaphysical connections.
This online exhibition of Embrace the Healing Power of Art will open on 1st March with ArtLand. We hope this exhibition will be a source of inspiration and encouragement during this special period of the epidemic.