Wu Chen: Matisse’s Skirt
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Magician Space is very pleased to present a first solo exhibition of works by Wu Chen curated by acclaimed artist Xie Nanxing.
Seeing this miscellaneous array of artist portraits culled from picture handbooks and illustrations from art history – one by one they each undergo a child-like process of distortion and reassembly, causing us to wonder at the morbidity of such a whimsical sense of imagination. Is it a child’s world? Far from it, this is an image of a brilliant young Henanese mind, one free from any association whatsoever with the Shaolin Temple! Hearing how he speaks of painting, one is undoubtedly astonished to hear how each narrative can be vividly conveyed to exude passion with such chaotic grammar, then added with some highly individualistic and ingenious details to finish the composition. Looking at these paintings you suddenly realize, for instance, a work by Giovanni Bellini depicting the Virgin Mary embracing Christ, and how this can be transformed into something perversely erotic. Her flesh colored face and neck form a geometric phallic shape, two exposed breasts weep to one another, and a deformed palm together forms an embrace – he tells me also that Christ is merely a stimulation between testicle and breast. Or perhaps like Manet’s lunch on the grass, this can be turned into a portrait capturing an image of a group; then there is also the two-headed monster of Van Gogh and Duchamp, just to name another example.
Each story must first begin with zero, then to one, proceeding further exponentially in this sequence. He presides over this history, amongst a ragtag group of artists, and in an infinite galaxy of colliding images and desire for transformation.