When TKG+ presented A Slant of Light (23 April to 5 June 2016), an exhibition of works by Wang Yahui, it was initially difficult to discern if the black and white surfaces, interrupted only by a spot of light, were paintings or photographs. These grey tonal compositions focus on the boundary line between what seems to be a white wall and the floor. Here the line is illuminated by a shaft of light seemingly coming down from a high window. Central to each work are pale geometric forms sliding from wall to floor in various shades. They felt romantic, allowing the viewer an introverted experience. They are in fact giclée prints.
Inspired by the geometries and still lifes of Italian painter Giorgio Morandi, and inner landscapes of Tang Dynasty poet Wang Wei, Wang’s display in the gallery’s basement was theatrical. The drama of the chiaroscuro pieces was reinforced by the space’s dimness, its dark walls, and the spotlights directed onto the prints.
The double channel video Off the Beaten Track (2016), also included in the exhibition—and displayed on a purpose-built, standing, double-screen reminiscent of an open book—presented a pair of superimposed moving lines drawn over the screen. It looked like slowly opening pages; soft wavelike forms echoing the photographs.
Alongside the photographs and video was a unique work of ink on paper, The Manuscript of a Slant of Light (2015)—a drawing of light reflected on a standing folded sheet. The folding created the illusion of a wall and a floor—as if in a paper house. It was on show to demonstrate the artist’s process and remind us of the enduring mystery of light.
At Lin & Lin, Japanese Gutai looked sharp with the works of three second-generation Gutai artists, collectively referred to by their shared initial: ‘the 3M’ comprising of Shuji Mukai, Takesada Matsutani and Tsuyoshi Maekawa. The exhibition, GUTAI 3M, showed their works in a stunning combination.
Shuji’s Work No. 01 (1994) opened the show with real flair. Shuji (b.1940, Kobe) became a member of the Gutai Art Association in 1961, and remained with it until its dissolution in 1972 after the death of Jirõ Yoshihara, who had founded the Gutai Art Association in Ashiya, near Osaka in Japan, in 1954. Echoing the group’s engagement with materiality and energy, Shuji’s large collaged triangle, made of acrylic and enamel, indulges the viewer with a luxuriating proliferation of black and off-white abstract signage and a rich texture. The work is covered with many marks and squares, highlighting the enamel’s glossy finish.
Equally vibrant were the glue-fabricated skin-like sensual works of Takesada Matsutani. In Wave 93-1 (1993) the artist drew with graphite pencil over the fabricated bulges. Though non-referential, his paintings appeal to the senses by conveying a feel of the organic and the visceral.
Finally, Tsuyoshi Maekawa’s works seemed to stand as a bridge between the hand-marked abstraction of Shuji and the sensuality of Takesada. His bulky lines (made from sculpting burlap) are reminiscent of ploughed up fields, as if seen from above and reflecting a particular topography of the land. Altogether the show felt extremely tactile. Abundant with the intellectual research of each artist, it was an exceptional exhibition. —[O]