Wu Yiming’s concern with individual identity is so astutely portrayed in his works it is perhaps not an overstatement to say that that he has found, within portraiture’s limits, the most adequate aesthetic style. A combination of individuality and anonymity informs his subtly poignant paintings. The figures depicted are presented as both intimate and mythic. The most significant feature of his characters is a paradoxical notion of blankness: his portraits lack facial features and any indication of individuality, alluding to an escape from or intrusion into an unwanted reality. Identity isn’t necessarily visible, and the paintings oscillate between recovering a lost image and shattering an illusion. Like ambiguous gestures, the images change as one negotiates them. Drawing an analogy to the present state of Chinese society and its unprecedented and frenzied development followed by estrangement and identity-loss is perhaps too shallow a reading. Instead, the images suggest a strong engagement with themes of cultural amnesia and a tabula rasa approach to history. In trying to erase certain aspects of cultural heritage, people gradually lose a sense of belonging to the world. A distorted past manifests itself as a faceless haunting power. Juxtaposing contemporary and mythic elements in his paintings, the artist suggests that art and aesthetics might be the platform to re-contextualize past occurrences within current contexts.

In further developing themes involving catharsis; that is, the embrace of trauma via art’s curing effect, Wu Yiming has recently engaged in creating significant sculptures of Joseph Beuys suggestively entitled “RED Beuys” (2006). Beuys’ lifelong mission was to ‘cure’ the German people of the of trauma of their recent history of pain and atrocity. Wu Yiming alludes to similar ideas of art’s purpose and possibilities.

Wu Yiming was born in Shanghai in 1966. He graduated from East China Normal University, Fine Arts Department. He resides and works in Shanghai. Recent exhibitions include Focus: Wu Yiming’s Works On Paper and Sculpture, ShanghART Gallery (Shanghai, 2006), Time Ex, UMA Gallery (Hong Kong, 2005), China – Contemporary Painting, Fondazioni Casa di Risparmio, Bologna (2005) and Dreaming of the Dragon’s Nation, Irish Museum of Modern Art (Dublin, 2004).

The above info is quoted from www.shanghartgallery.com/galleryarchive/artists/name/wuyiming/intro


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