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Wang Qiang

Optical Games In A Limited Freedom: Eleonora Battiston

“Who's Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue?”

If we take into analyses the paintings of the series Limited Freedom, we could place Wang Qiang among those few artists that undertake a rigid geometrical abstraction. Already within the title, the artist reclaims the concept of freedom that, also in the West between the beginning of the Twentieth Century and the end of the Second World War, had ratified the birth of Abstractism. Abstractism, as a universal language, is in fact free from any kind of ties with reality and from any attempts with figuration. Wang Qiang, as abstracters did in their times, deprives painting of the realism bestowing it with the faculty of the word and turning it into a tool to express the subjectivity of the artist and a place for the visual immersion of the spectator.

In the Athens of the IV B.C, Platone had already written something about painting: "for what concern the beauty of the shapes, I don't think about what most people could imagine, for example beautiful painted bodies. I rather mean the straight line or the circle, the plane and solid figures, designed with the ruler and the SQUADRA. I believe these figures are themselves very beautiful, because they transmit a particular pleasure".

Complex architectures emerge from the polystyrene to create intricate buildings behind whose slants and niches are placed, hidden, small figures...
Eleonora Battiston

But what kind of pleasure could we ever find in the mess of colors and in the overlapping of lines? The artist refuses to give the spectator interpretational hints and his canvases become just a simple pretext for contemplation because, as Leonardo in the Fifth Century pointed out, "messy and indefinite things stimulate the spirit to new inventions". Hence, the meditative quality conferred by a meticulously maniacal geometry is undoubted!

The figurative "emptiness" of Wang Qiang's canvases confers full scope to the feelings and emotions of the observer who carries out a somewhat mystical submersion in the colors letting his retina being confused by the chromatic cheats and optical games created by the lines.These works enclose the intrinsic value of recalling only themselves just like the masterpieces of the Op Art (Optical Art) anticipated in the Thirties by Victor Vasarely. Through the linear variations (vertical, horizontal and diagonal) and the contrasts of colors, he experiments the effects of optical stimulation and the false impression of movement that has been created.

However, for which reason is this "freedom""limited"? Only approaching the canvases, we can comprehend the mock and amusement of these artworks: the patterns are prefixed and they already exist, and the newly painted part is only partial. The canvases are already colored and printed with the lines and motifs of which, only in some portion of the space, the artist inverts and upsets the direction, creating with the brush geometries of geometries and making these labyrinths even more complex.

Illusions and mirages recall to the structures of a computer or to the trajectories of a video game to which the artist confers a three-dimensional form with his installations. Complex architectures emerge from the polystyrene to create intricate buildings behind whose slants and niches are placed, hidden, small figures: animals, characters of comics and strange beings that seem to be part of a different universe. It seems a futuristic and science fictional scenery, a world inspired by cartoons that once again submerge the viewer in a surreal dimension deprived of time and space.

1968 Born in Jiangsu Province, China

1994 Graduated in Xiamen University

Present Lives and Works in Nanjing


Solo Exhibitions


2013 Creative Realms by Wang Qiang, Red Gate Gallery, Beijing

2008 Optical Games in a Limited Freedom, Marella Gallery,Beijing

1993 Paintings of Wang Qiang, Xiamen University, Xiamen


Group Exhibitions


2017 Red Gate on the Move, Red Gate Gallery, Beijing

Surmount & Behave, Baijia Lake Museum, Nanjing

2016 3rd Nanjing International Art Festival - HISTORICODE: Scarcity & Supply, Baijia Lake Museum, Nanjing

2015 2nd Nanjing International Art Festival – A Beautiful New World International Contemporary Art Exhibition, Nanjing International Exhibition Center

Within Sight Chinese New Painting at Post Financial Crisisera, Poly Art Museum, Beijing

Blow-up Chinese New Painting at Post Financial Crisis ear, Chongqing Museum of Contemporary Art, Chongqing

2014 2nd Nanjing International Art Festival, Nanjing International Expo Center, Nanjing

2013 The 2nd “Yan Wenliang” Art Exhibition, Su Zhou Museum of Art, Suzhou

2011 Red Gate Launch Pad – Celebrating 10 Years of Artists in Residence, Red Gate Gallery

2010 Nanjing Biennale, Jiangsu Provincial Art Museum

2009 China· China, Milan Art Museum, Milan

Paradise Lost, Fun Art Space, Beijing

2007 ShContemporary, Shanghai

Fractal Image, Nanjing Museum

2006 Artists in Residency Exhibition, Red Gate Gallery

Fancy Dream, Marella Gallery, Beijing

Fancy Dream, Marella Gallery, Milan

2005 Three-year Exhibition of Chinese Art, Nanjing Museum

2004 Double Imagination, Shenghua Art Center, Nanjing

2003 Digital City, Melbourne

2002 Time, Space, and Me, Xiamen University Sino - European Art Center, Xiamen

Cement, Chambers Fine Art, New York

New Urbanism, Guangdong Art Museum, Guangdong

Daydream, Nanjing Museum, Nanjing

W & G Art Pair, Sanmi Gallery, Nanjing

2001 Traces of Time, Nanjing

Close and Far Away, Nanjing

2000 Human Beings and Animals, Qingliangshan Park, Nanjing

1999 Ideas and Concepts, Shanghai

Orientation and Meanings, Nanjing

The First International Exhibition of Chinese Installation art, Hong Kong

1998 2000-1, Nanjing Normal University

1997 Modern City and Contemporary Art, Jiangsu Art Museum

My recent work is about a return to nature, which takes the form of a couple of fruit trees or a mountain. I feel that only by being in nature will one feel extremely peaceful; where one can find a serenity that emanates from the inner self. It is a place free of slogans and there is nothing to fathom. By returning to this boundless inner sanctum, one can access a life force. Perhaps it is just that for me? I feel closer to myself as I channel this internal energy into my painting.

Wang Qiang



10 am - 6 pm, Tuesday - Sunday
798 Art District,
No. 2 Jiuxianqiao Road,
Chaoyang District, Beijing, China
Beijing International Post Office
Box No. 9039,
Beijing, China 100600
(+86 10) 5762 3032
(+86) 137 0107 8721
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