Group Exhibition
The Riddle of the Symbol
2022.01.15 - 02.28
Triumph Gallery is pleased to present “The Riddle of the Symbol”, an artist group exhibition from January 15 to February 28, 2022. The exhibition will feature works by three artists: Chen Xin, Wang Yi, and Xu Dawei. 

After receiving academic training in painting, Chen Xin, Wang Yi, and Xu Dawei are three artists currently based in Shanghai. For over a decade, at the core of their practices, painting has always been a major medium in their exploration of artistic language and personal expression. This exhibition presents a selection of recent works by the three artists. Among them, Chen Xin has employed a minimal palette and clean lines that constitute a series of floral still lifes and portraits that symbolize her concept, which probes—and bridging pictorially—the contemporary artificial divisions and oppositions that exist within our social reality and thought. By drawing his inspirations from Western fables and travel experiences, Wang Yi focus not on the narrative or characterization of his subjects but on creating a specific style or scene with a symbolist style, as a means to express his inner emotions and spirit. Xu Dawei’s works are also depictions of fictional scenes, but they lean towards intuition and imagination. His artistic creation often begins with “automatic” scribbles on a canvas that slowly morphs into a mental landscape, hoping to “achieve some sort of meditation and psychological dialogue that exists beyond reality.”

Although these three artists all utilize different techniques, subjects, and concepts, their works still share some subtle, similar characteristics. They are inclined to formulate their painting subjects and scenes with a rather abstract mode, constructing imaginary subjects and spaces in which they can inject their thoughts and feelings. On top of that, the fictional characters and spaces they depict are sometimes romantic and mysterious, oftentimes contradictory and gloomy. As a result, the audiences can discern a sense of solitude, uneasiness, and turmoil unique to modern humans. These expressions are contemporary painters’ typical meditation over their reality and inner worlds. 

This exhibition provides three vivid cases of such painterly practices in China. What is worth mentioning is that their works are set against a grander backdrop—the revitalizing of painting in the international art world in the last decade. Over the past century, the medium has been repeatedly declared dead under the impact of various novel artistic forms and mediums such as photography, conceptual art, social intervention, and institutional critique. And as ideas, theories, social movements, and public interests swarmed the milieu in the name of social responsibility and political correctness, it seemed almost impossible for painters to just calmly stand and work in front of the canvas unperturbed. However, the root of art lies in its individuality—artists can always learn and obtain new ideas and techniques outside their studio, but at the end of the day, they ought to return to their true self. It is exactly the tiny flat surface of the canvas that allows an artist to remain true to his being, or even, to insist on escapism and incorrectness. It also allows them to acknowledge the complexity and inscrutability of the world and life. The three artists included in this exhibition can be seen as the heirs of such ideology. They refuse to instrumentalize painting, but instead fuse their life with their works, utilizing their brushes to paint their most sincere feelings and thoughts.
Chen Xin
Chen Xin's recent works use easel painting and installation to explore the yearning and lack of free will, emotion, and experience under the domination of instrumental rationality in the digital era.

The easel paintings present a series of sensual and romantic works. Such exploration comes from the fact that the current amplification of instrumental rationality has distanced us from our emotions, and the environment for personal emotional expression has been transformed. Nowadays, netizens’ emotion-centered experiences seem insignificant; simultaneously, it is absurdly amplified. Meanwhile, data erases human's free will, lets inner emotions be recycled many times in repression.

The metaphorical intervention of the plant image reflects the shackles of reason, which also symbolizes each individual. The gesture and breath of the plants bring the power of growth, resist the fragmented life and gain the extension of time; They never hide, and their confident posture inspires us to face the current situation and women's issues.

Installations continues to take on the "identity" of "Future Network Archeologist," looking back to sort out the meaning of network data archeology. She uses non-traditional materials (such as galvanized tie wire, black annealed wire, rubber foam sponge tube, etc.) to consider the relationship between the network's closure and free will, discursive space, and emotion.
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Wang Yi
Wang Yi has been trained in realistic painting for a long time, copying and experiencing the techniques of European classical painting. These experiences give him excellent grasp of modeling. His picture structure is stable, line and color processing are clever and make the picture rich in charm.

Wang from fairy tales refining and paint one by one by the paint, flowing, overlapping and shading image space, and the image space fundamentally is actually contains the artist's personal inner space of the mood and feelings, or artist to escape the daily, and keep my thoughts and feelings to shelter and galloping of space; It is in these Spaces that the artist realizes his independent understanding of the external world as a modern man.
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Xu Dawei
Xu Dawei's work is based almost entirely on imagination and is more subjective and intuitive. He says he often starts with a blank SLATE, without a narrative script or a plan. He always starts with the paintbrush "automatically" on the canvas, where the content takes shape. This approach also gives the works a more natural and smooth emotional outpouring, with a more mysterious atmosphere.

Xu Dawei's works tend to be intuitive and perceptual, and pay more attention to emotion, emotional projection and inner expression. The works revolve around different object replacement combination and transformation change, to create some anxiety and melancholy, tension, contradiction, heavy, mysterious and absurd, interesting atmosphere. As a kind of irrational existence, the unidentified shape objects often appear in the picture, trying to break the original familiar environment and normal image narrative, and create a sense of strangeness. By creating a fantasy physical space juxtaposed between reality and fantasy, I hope to realize some kind of thinking and psychological dialogue outside reality.
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