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Wei Dong's naked realities

Updated: 2015-07-28 08:27:29

( China Daily )

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Crossroads No 4 shows Wei's recent exploration of traditional Chinese landscape painting.

He says his recent works try to convey a deeper meaning by intriguing people to think about what the figures may be quietly conversing about.

"Instead of portraying angry, shouting figures, my approach is now more subtle and layered," he says.

"It is when painting the shanshui landscape that I can think of nothing. I feel quiet. I can visualize on paper my understanding of the genre and mastery of such skills."

In the works, one may also sense unspeakable loneliness, which Wei traces back to his childhood.

"I was a very lonely child. I once wrote in a composition at school that whenever I walked alone, I often imagined another boy walking and talking with me. ... I asked myself what kind of a job would suit me when I grew up. I could think of nothing else but painting."

Although Wei paints a lot of female figures, his subjects on canvas aren't beautiful in the conventional sense. In his works created after 2000, the women have chubby hands and legs, disproportionate bodies and aren't the most attractive overall.

"If I have to choose between making something look beautiful and making something look realistic, I would choose the latter," Wei says.

He put these "real" women in all kinds of unrealistic, dreamy and even dark settings.

Some were inspired by his childhood experiences of living in a military housing community. In other situations, he seeks alluring contradictions. In Horseback Rider No 1, for instance, the serenity on the face of a naked woman-with her head shaven-contrasts with the great pain she feels as arrows pierce her body.

He deviates slightly in his recent woman portraits. He tones down the sexual appeal while seeking the clean, elegant feeling of classical oil paintings.

Wei pays homage to Eugene Delacroix in a newly finished work, titled My Delacroix. He was inspired by a side-profile photo of the painter of Liberty Leading the People. Wei painted a pose similar to that struck by the French artist in the image, but replaced Delacroix with a woman. She looks pale and gives a sideway glance. Her chest is partly exposed.

Sometimes when he looks at photos, he gets very weird thoughts. Wei says he was perhaps born to be an "unusual person".

"There is nothing wrong with eroticism," he says. "China lacks painters of the erotic motif, which makes up a more complicated and richer part of human nature."

If you go

10 am-6 pm, Monday-Friday, 11 am-5 pm on Saturdays, July 29-Aug 8. S|2 gallery, 5F One Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Hong Kong. 852-2822-5566.

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