A Slant of Light: Wang Yahui Solo Exhibition

23 April - 5 June 2016 TKG+

So hollow is the mountain, not a soul in sight,

Yet the sound of men talking is somehow heard despite.

Into the deep, deep forest, rays of the setting sun peep.

To shed again on the green moss the day’s remaining light.


The Deer Range, Wang River Collection

Wang Wei (701-761), Tang Dynasty poet



A Slant of Light, Wang Yahui’s solo exhibition at TKG+ in four years since 2012, is a continuation of her exploration of the concept of time and space through mediums of image expression. In constantly pondering the artist seeks to narrate in the visual language the outside world, universal experiences, and intangible feelings. The exhibition title “A Slant of Light” is inspired by Italian painter Giorgio Morandi [1] and Tang Dynasty poet Wang Wei.


“A Slant of Light” is a play on a verse in The Deer Range by Wang Wei. A poet and a painter, Wang Wei was praised by Song Dynasty literary giant Su Shi, who regarded Wang’s work as “painting within poetry, poetry within painting.” The portrayal in Wang Wei’s poetry runs parallel to the composition of a painting, where emotions interweave with landscapes in varying shades. His writing conjures microcosmic changes in scenery that not only reflect the macrocosmic whole, but leave room for imagination. His use of contrast creates dramatic scenarios [2], while his depiction of dynamic scenes brings poetic imagery to life. Wang Wei interpreted what he perceived through the medium of text (or image composition). A process that resonates with Wang Yahui’s art practice, which seeks poetry within the visual language.  


Wang Yahui tests the boundary of visual perception by delving into concepts of empty and solid, inside and outside, the elasticity of time, and the field of vision, later on incorporating elements of memory and life experience. On view at Wang's solo exhibition are a photography series, two video installations, a kinetic installation, and one sculpture, where the artist tracks the trajectory of movement in a space in the form of minimalist graphics, eliminating real-life scenarios and past experiences. Lines and squares of ink occupy a labyrinthine space where imagery of ink transports viewers to an unreachable land in prolonged time, every minute change a narrative about procreation, recurrence, and demise. Each photographic work is a space of its own, while the subtle movement of the kinetic installation and the moving image of the video works percolate an energy of life, rippling in the seemingly quiet space. The element of time becomes less relevant in Wang's new body of work, where the element of space is instead accentuated and magnified. Reconfiguring the concept of space, Wang invites viewers to reconsider its fluid, impalpable nature, as they become immersed in where they are and riveted by what they see.


A Slant of Light mirrors the thought process of Wang Yahui, just as Wang Wei' poetry reflects his inner landscape, solitary yet lurking with life. Spectators are lured into Wang Yahui's work as visual clues beckon them to scrutinize her thoughts, inspiring them to contemplate the exterior world. Before the day's remaining light disappears silently on the green moss, we are encouraged to redefine the simple act of seeing.


[1]Giorgio Morandi (1890-1964), born in Bologna, Italy, was a famed painter. His art practice revolved around the portrayal of bottles and the scenery in suburban Bologna. He believed that an artist should depict what he saw truthfully. Through this truthful representation of reality, an artist should spend more time studying his subject and portraying it. It was his conviction that an artist should not be fixated on recreating the complex world, but on constructing his own spiritual universe by observing what resides in the real world.

[2]An example is the use of "hollow" and "sound" in the verse, "So hollow is the mountain, not a soul in sight, Yet the sound of men talking is somehow heard despite."