Chambers Fine Art is pleased to announce the opening on July 10 of New Acquaintances – works by Chen
Baoyang, Fu Xiaotong, GAMA and Wang Fengge. Born between 1976 and 1989, the four artists work
in different media but all respond in one way or another to aspects of the history of Chinese art ranging
from the classical landscape tradition to Socialist Realism in a deeply personal manner.
GAMA (b. 1977) was born in Mongolia and grew up in the nomadic tradition in which shamanism still plays an
important role. In 2002 he enrolled in the Karlsruhe Academy of Art to study oil painting under Gustav Kluge.
During this period he was exposed to the figurative painting of the New Leipzig School and found an
unexpected convergence between the folk-lore and rituals of his own country of birth and the imaginative
traditions of Germany. Memories of shamanism coexist with figures that seem to have stepped out
of Grimm’s fairy tales. As an outsider he was exposed to the extraordinary richness of contemporary German
art which ranges from the conceptual rigor of Gerhard Richter to the expressionist style of Georg Baselitz,
eventually forming a uniquely hybrid style which is perfectly adapted to his multi-faceted personal mythology.
In his enigmatic paintings realism is constantly undermined by painterly devices, just as the subject matter veers
wildly between the matter-of-fact depiction of recognizable events and objects and wild flights of the imagination.
WANG FENGGE (b. 1982) who graduated from the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing (CAFA) paints
subdued, nearly monochromatic canvases that hover on the border between realism and abstraction. While she
admits to being deeply responsive to the profundities of traditional Chinese brush and ink painting,
she chooses to paint details of buildings, landscapes and modern urban life which she reduces to nearly abstract
configurations. Her striking paintings derive their energy from the tonal relationship between multiple layers
of closely related hues applied with extraordinary precision.
FU XIAOTONG (b. 1976) is a graduate of the Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts, after which she completed her
postgraduate studies in the Department of Experimental Art, Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing (CAFA).
In her recent series of works on hand-made paper, she evokes vast mountain ranges through an extraordinarily
labor-intensive technique, using a needle to perforate the paper. From the accumulation
of marks ranging from pin-pricks to directional slashes, the images slowly emerge. The material qualities
of the paper and the obsessive nature of the technique are emphasized by the way in which the artist prefers
to display them, unframed and hanging from hooks on the wall.
CHEN BAOYANG (b. 1989) received his MFA in Photography, Video and Related Media
from the School of Visual Arts, NYC. Paradoxically, as the son of a distinguished traditional Chinese painter,
he has a closer affinity to the continuity of Chinese visual culture than the other three artists in the exhibition,
although he is furthest removed from it in terms of his preferred media. In a highly original way, he adheres
to the traditional Chinese approach of learning by copying and imitating by feeding images of 104 of his father’s
paintings into his algorithms and repeating this process with different parameters. He has stated that “I convert
the brushwork to create new arrangements of pixels and color information based upon the original Shan Shui
(Chinese landscape) paintings. My working tools are my algorithms, which use computational formulae
to reconstruct the original tableaux in order to spawn new ones. My digital methodologies provide me working
techniques of universalism, repetition, randomness and effortless-action.”
Although glimpses of mountains, Chinese characters etc. appear in the dizzying interplay of forms and colors
in Chen’s works in inkjet on silk- they are only of minor importance in the abstract visual dynamics that he
achieves through cutting-edge technology.