Who is Wang Huaxiang?

TEXT:Sui Cheng    DATE: 2021.3.10

Mr. Wang Huaxiang is not only a maverick in Chinese art circles but also a legendary figure. At the age of 26, he won a gold medal in the national art exhibition for his woodblock printings Guizhou People Series; at 28, his Close Distance Series led to a shift in artistic trends and he became the representative of the “new-generation artist”. He published Leave a Mistake Uncorrected and Make the Best of It at the age of 31. When he turned 34, he created 32 ways to engrave a portrait; then, at the age of 41, he published a series of teaching monographs to build a reverse teaching system, which supplemented the modernist teaching links that were missing in Chinese higher education of art and stirred up both the conventional and monotonous college teaching system. He also founded the Feidi Academy of Fine Arts in an aim to help young artists to realize their artistic ideals and to help mature artists achieve their breakthrough and artistic rebirth. He combined oil painting with pop art, reorganized sculpture and installation and expanded the connotation of art by pointing out the existing shortcomings of art and reality, so as to realize his ideal of universal value of art.

01 锔瓷一 120×160cm 布面油画 2020年 .jpg

Mended Porcelain Series No. 1, 120×160cm

Oil on canvas, 2020

02锔瓷二 30×40cm 布面油画 2020年.jpg

Mended Porcelain Series No. 2, 30×40cm

Oil on canvas, 2020

03 锔瓷一、二、三、十八、十九 创作草稿.JPGDrafts for Mended Porcelain Series No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, No. 18 and No. 19After taking charge of Printmaking Department, the China Central Academy of Fine Arts in 2015, as one of the main leaders of Chinese printmaking, he founded the International Academic Printmaking Alliance (IAPA) to promote the development of printmaking across the globe. In this regard, he has redefined the concept of printmaking art and improved its development space and influence.

04艺术家王华祥创作作品中.jpgArtist Wang Huaxiang in His Creation

In the special year of 2020, Mr, Wang Huaxiang created the Mended Porcelain Series. The series have shown the fact that human society was “conflicted”, in which he declared war against social and cultural viruses through realistic symbolic painting. The revival of the glamorous realistic painting in the present consumer society shows the pursuit for the true essence of art and the vision of yearning for a bright future.

05锔瓷四  120×120cm 布面油画 2020年.jpg

Mended Porcelain Series No. 4, 120×120cm

Oil on canvas, 2020

06锔瓷四-石版 40×40cm 石版画 2020年.jpgMended Porcelain Series No. 4-Lithograph, 40×40cmLithograph, 2020

07锔瓷四、锔瓷四-石版 创作草稿.JPG

Drafts for Mended Porcelain Series No. 4-Lithograph

As early as 1980s, Mr. Wang Huaxiang’s Guizhou People Series has already realized the expansion of printmaking art language, which has brought new life for the printmaking family. The combination of the technical difficulty, thinking ability and imagination of his works served as a wake-up call to the “technocracy” and “de-technocracy” at that time, which allowed the printmaking proudly coexist with other kinds of paintings. At the same time, the emergence of Guizhou People Series has changed the direction of college teaching and redefined some concepts in the basic modeling teaching. It reinterprets the concept of “realism” technology, “modeling foundation” and other constraints on creation, and develops these developments into new methods through the transformation of creativity. The expansion of the printmaking language as well as thinking tend to be an exhilarating thing. 

锔瓷六 布面油画 60X120 2020.jpg

Guizhou People Series No. 6, 60x120cm

Oil on canvas, 2020

08 锔瓷八 60×80cm 布面油画 2020年.jpg

Guizhou People Series No. 8, 60×80cm

Oil on canvas, 2020

09锔瓷九 60×80cm 布面油画 2020年.jpg

Guizhou People Series No.9, 60×80cm

Oil on canvas, 2020

As one of the leading figures of the new-generation artists, his Close Distance Series focuses on ordinary people, by connecting people around him closely to art. The visual effects of his works were regarded as a kind of improvement on artistic quality which makes up for academic value in the painting field at that time. This changed the trend of Chinese painting which was one of the significant artistic phenomena of the 1990s. It also aroused people to observe themselves and closely examine their own lives once again. 

10 艺术家创作空间.jpgWang Huaxiang's Studio

11艺术家王华祥进行创作.jpgWang Huaxiang in His Creation

Working as an educator and artist, he has a high degree of self-consciousness in education and teaching. His sketch teaching system of Leave a Mistake Uncorrected and Make the Best of It Series subverts the conventional and monotonous education system in concept and successfully opens another door to the art heaven. “32 ways to engrave a portrait” has marked a revolution in his teaching of printmaking, which combines many kinds of relations in a magic way, trains students’ creative ability of thinking and formal language, while introducing the modernism art method into higher art education in China. 

12锔瓷十 100×120cm 布面油画 2020年.jpg

Guizhou People Series No.10 (The overall and details),100×120cm Oil on canvas, 2020

Mr. Wang Huaxiang implements his art practice in a multi-directional way. In 2006, his Plastic Surgery Series shows his thinking on history and contemporary art issues by using oil painting art. He concentrated the discourse of history and reality in an image that has been shifted, replaced, and disconnected, therefore wittily recreating a cultural picture of contemporary society, which can clearly convey his thinking and attitude towards current cultural themes. At the same time, this also enables him to use the revolutionary nature of technology, create a new generation of close-up painting style and naturally think about more macro cultural issues in the process of changing the education system. He does not repeat himself, nor can the learners imitate his style. This can prove to be a unique example of the art world. Mr. Wang Huaxiang’s reproduction of the cultural pop of his oil paintings is based on his development of another “existence form” of oil painting. In his concept of supernormal thinking, any form can be changed and developed. His silkscreen print Culture Pop Series reflects not the development of reproduction technology, but the birth of a new art form. Unlike the later prints of famous artists, these works are not the result of marketization, but the reproduction and continuation of a cultural universal value, and also an expansion of the existence of Chinese prints.

锔瓷十二 布面油画 120X160 2020.jpg

Guizhou People Series No.12 (The overall and details),120×160cm

Oil on canvas, 2020

Mr. Wang Huaxiang is one of a kind in terms of his works, teaching, art theory and the popularization of art. His teaching system has exerted a wide and profound influence. In 2013, in the teacher-student exhibition Carrying the Tiger Down the Mountain, we witnessed the results of his teaching of sketch modeling and printmaking in his students’ thinking as they have developed their own styles in oil painting, printmaking and other art forms of creation. Similarly, this kind of influence is also obvious in the higher art education in China. His contribution to Chinese painting styles not only lies in the development of visual schema and innovative language, but also has a long-term influence in liberating thinking and creative orientation. His newly-created oil painting Mended Porcelain Series will also pave a new way for art.

13锔瓷十三 布面油画 120X160 2020 .jpgGuizhou People Series No.13, 120×160cmOil on canvas, 2020

14 锔瓷十五 布面油画 100X120 2020.jpgGuizhou People Series No.15, 100×120cmOil on canvas, 2020

As an artist, Mr. Wang Huaxiang has always been a reversed trend setter or a trans-trendsetter. His art does not move with any trend, but he is longing for the true essence of art and he seeks to deeper explore it with all his heart and soul. In addition, he is regarded as an awakened fighter who overcomes himself as well as the trends. The Mended Porcelain Series represents his declaration of war against social and cultural viruses and trends, as well as a profound analysis of himself and the world of human desire. What he hopes to revive is not only the brilliance of realistic painting, but also the dignity of art.

A Brief Introduction to the Artist


Wang Huaxiang

Deputy Dean of the School of Fine Arts and PhD Supervisor, Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing

President of the International Academic Printmaking Alliance (IAPA)

Dean of the International Printmaking Institute (IPI)

Member of the China Artists Association

Visiting Professor of Roma Academy of Fine Arts, Italy

Judge of Belgium European Printmaking Masters Exhibition

Member of International Honorary Advisor Committee of ACE Contemporary Art Foundation, Argentina 

Poster of Wang Huaxiang.jpg

Mended Porcelain: Bridging the Crack 

Wang Huaxiang's Solo Exhibition

Sponsor: Suzhou Museum

Time: March 13 to May 9,2021

Add: Contemporary Art Gallery of Suzhou Museum

Courtesy of the artist and Suzhou Museum, edited by CAFA ART INFO.