b. 1991, China

Wang Yi Biography

Wang Yi is a Chinese abstract painter specialising in distinctive works of hazy, but geometrically shaped, glowing colour. Some are painted on glass and many deceptively look as if they are illuminated by electric bulbs placed within, due to his expert glazing technique.

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Early Years

In 2009, Wang graduated from the College of Art in Hangzhou. He then acquired a Bachelor's degree from the China Academy of Art in 2013, and later a Master's in 2016. In terms of Chinese art history, he is considered to be following in the footsteps of Ding Yi, a pioneer abstractionist.

Wang Yi Artworks

Wang Yi's delicate, translucent abstractions seem a nod to Op Art and Neo Geo, as well as Western precursors like Victor Vasarely, Richard Anuskeiwicz, and Peter Halley, because of their use of grid modules, thin paint, and high-key physicality.

However, Wang also incorporates a ritualistic procedure linked to traditional Chinese landscape painters like Guo Xi of Northern Song Dynasty, who used ink washes within a strict formulaic process, and welcomes unanticipated interpretations from the viewer.

While his methods are precise and mechanical, unforeseen aspects of overlapping liquid, oil paint, behaviour, and optics do occur. This open-endedness in image production he sees as a bonus.

Wang Yi says: 'In terms of meaning and concept, differences in culture, history, politics and lived experiences cannot be avoided. The audience's understanding of the same work in different national contexts is certainly multifarious, just as a liberal advocate cannot reach an agreement with someone who believes in centralization and authoritarianism. Certainly, it is possible that people look forward to stability when in chaos, and or disorder when in order. I see something good and beautiful in such different understandings, or even misinterpretations.'

The behaviour of light, when shaped by geometry mixed with tones, is a dominant interest for Wang Yi, with work that features light that sometimes is interrupted by unexpected blemishes or imperfections that cloud interpretation. Light is a physical presence that brings joy to the body of the viewer, but that changes in intricate detail according to their distance away when different optical experiences result.


Wang Yi has been the subject of both solo and group exhibitions.

Recent solo exhibitions include Dark Light Bright Night, AIKE, Shanghai (2020); Geometry Rules All Phenomena: Wang Yi, Hive Centre for Contemporary Art, Shenzhen (2018); Yi Ri Guang, AIKE, Shanghai (2016); Mirror: Wang Yi Solo Project, Art Taipei 2015 (2015); Wang Yi, HdM Gallery, Hangzhou (2014); Zhang Peiyun Wang Yi Do Exhibition: Dream, M50 Art Space, Shanghai (2013); Nothing, J: Gallery, Shanghai (2012).

Recent group exhibitions include Inside Out, Wang Yi and Claude Viallat, HdM Gallery, Beijing (2021); The Atonal River, AIKE, Shanghai (2019); Inside and Outside, HdM Gallery, Beijing (2018); Spiral Stairs, AIKE, Shanghai (2018); No Commission: Shanghai, Shanghai Exhibition Center, Shanghai (2017); Abstract China 2016, Ming Yuan Art Museum, Shanghai (2016); The Working of Non-Figurative System, Rightview Art Museum, Beijing (2016).

John Hurrell | Ocula | 2021

Wang Yi
featured artworks

Hub 2023-2 by Wang Yi contemporary artwork painting
Wang Yi Hub 2023-2, 2023 Acrylic on canvas
160 x 160 cm
Whitestone Gallery Request Price & Availability
Hub 2018-2 by Wang Yi contemporary artwork painting
Wang Yi Hub 2018-2, 2018 Acrylic on canvas
220 x 220 cm
Tang Contemporary Art Request Price & Availability

Wang Yi
recent exhibitions

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