Tang Contemporary Art is proud to present Flowers in the Mirror, the latest solo exhibition by Chinese contemporary artist Pang Maokun at Hong Kong space. Curated by He Guiyan, the exhibition features nearly 20 oil and paper works created from 2013.
The exhibition is entitled Flowers in the Mirror primarily because Pang created a series of figure paintings or portraits with the person placed in front of a mirror. Represented by Live Broadcast and Wedding Witness, Pang Maokun has long maintained a strong interest in the visual or viewing mechanisms inside a painting, and the power discourses that they conceal. What's different is that these paintings do not draw on classic works from the art historical canon to communicate his ideas; Pang places the figures in a concrete, everyday environment. Because of the mirror's presence, the visual mechanism actually reflects two ways of looking; the figure and mirror in the painting constitute the first layer, and the second is the artist's gaze. The gaze is more powerful than merely looking because it indicates the artist's keen insight and his spiritual depth when reflecting upon reality. In the end, when viewers confront the completed work, they share in Pang's aesthetic and viewing experience.
This exhibition features some of Pang's recent figure and portrait paintings, the majority of which depict the artist's family, friends, and colleagues. Some of the pieces were painted from live models. In these works, Pang does not spend too much time on the setting; he simplifies the background and excludes superfluous detail. Instead, he invests his energy in capturing the figure's status — his or her psychological or spiritual state in those circumstances.
On one hand, Pang utilises methods of appropriation and juxtaposition from post-modern art to distort the pictorial compositions and narrative methods of classic paintings, thereby strengthening the conceptual content of the works. On the other hand, by adding new figures, he uses parody to change the visual mechanisms of the original image and further explore the powerful discourses hiding behind the act of looking. While rooted in current social and cultural circumstances, the paradigm of classical painting and the contemporary cultural spirit and character of our time are always closely linked through a distinctive visual tension in Pang's paintings.
Press release courtesy Tang Contemporary Art.