artist / participant
January 12–March 14, 2021
Evelyn Taocheng Wang. Reflection Paper
“I am a very insecure person, mutable or whimsical. I see my art work more as being failures than being good, as being far away from a successful result. I always wish that I could do a 100% personal exhibition in a calm and serene mood, so that the space of the art Institution would give me a chance at the concentration needed to connect mind and eye. With those promised connections, the paintings, the architecture, and its interior would all be connected tightly with each other. But at the end the promise seems less than fulfilled, and it shall be continued.
Reflection Paper is a ‘clinic’ where abstract thoughts and emotions are brought together from my reading of a few writers in order to ‘try to be a literal woman and sew my own womb.’ With a slight homage and a little pretentiousness, I gathered this difficult and painful procedure from history, which tied together the intuition of searching with reaching toward freedom. Good night to my rationality! I tortured myself with pages, texts, language courses, administrations, and combinations of colors dyed in layers then laminated, in order to become as wise as Agnes Martin. She filmed flowers too, or became the flower! Wearing this self-designed uniform—very suiting, 100% navy wool—reminds me of the backgrounds in Georgia O’Keeffe’s flower paintings. Those are my own modernism of art, or at least they are a self-invented bridge.
Reflection Paper is a circle garden, inviting you for diagnosis on topics such as ‘living in the moment of now’ or ‘beauty is only in our mind’ as you count your breath, walking through the icy white lacquer. Since my artworks are failures, I left their aesthetics and compositions in the soil of meditation, and shall we say together: ‘Today is a fragment.’ This garden is protected with an old grandmother’s oversized flowery underpants. They are going to stop lengthy turbid speeches. They are going to repel the air of bad energy. They are going to kick out all the negative worries about the future. From there, looking onto Grabbeplatz, thinking of the movement of sun shades, they are laminating your height, and their materials are half transparent, your body then becomes almost woven into the space, so you must trust your intuition, under the sunshades, no vacation.”
–Evelyn Taocheng Wang
The exhibition Reflection Paper at Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf will be accompanied by a series of events and performative treatments. Due to the current restrictions in order to contain the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, the Kunstverein remains closed until further notice. In the meantime our events will be launched online; for updates on our program please check here. We will open the exhibition to the public as soon as possible.
On the occasion of the exhibition a first comprehensive monograph on the artist's work will be produced, unfolding by way of her personal biography and its various stages—beginning with her arrival in 2008 in Bleckede, Germany, from China, which was followed by her move to Frankfurt am Main to attend the Städelschule; time in Amsterdam at De Ateliers; Rotterdam; and, most recently, stays in Mönchengladbach and Düsseldorf, Germany. As Evelyn Taocheng Wang’s artistic research is deeply influenced by personal experiences and encounters, the publication will seek to outline with diverse texts how both have been reflected in the artist’s drawings, paintings, collages, photographs, video works, narrative texts, installations, performances, and fashion collections over the course of the past fourteen years. The monograph will be published by Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf together with Dancing Foxes Press, New York, and released in fall 2021.
Curated by Eva Birkenstock
Evelyn Taocheng Wang (*1981 in Chengdu, China) studied traditional painting, classical Chinese literature, as well as art history and visual communication in China. Her studies continued at the Städelschule für Bildende Kunst in Frankfurt, focusing on what she calls “Western conceptual art theory, imagery presentation, and their combinations.” From 2012 to 2014, she attended De Ateliers in Amsterdam, while working in a Chinese massage salon in the middle of Amsterdam’s tourist center. Having traveled from China to study internationally as a painter, she financed her stay as a traditional masseuse for one year. “I’ve never had to do such a difficult, physical job before,” remembers Wang, “and when I started I had no experience as a masseuse, so I was only allowed to work on tourists or new customers.” Diary entries, which she wrote at the end of her shifts, were gradually converted into a series of drawings and paintings. By combining traditional elements with contemporary issues, Wang mixes emotional, poetic, and autobiographical narratives, focusing on relations between the traditional and contemporary; cultural, social and class identity; the original and the reproduction; as well as gender roles and the autonomy of body culture. Her work has been presented at various internationally recognized group and solo exhibitions including at the ICA (London, 2017), KW Institute for Contemporary Art (Berlin, 2018), S.M.A.K. (Ghent, 2019), Wiels, Brussels (2020), and Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (2020), among others.