'Under the Vault of Heaven,' Huang Yuxing's spiritual journey

Wang Jie
"Under the Vault of Heaven," a solo exhibition of Huang Yuxing is currently under way at Shanghai's Long Museum West Bund.
Wang Jie
'Under the Vault of Heaven,' Huang Yuxing's spiritual journey
Ti Gong

"Heaven and Earth," 2016-2020, oil on canvas

Lhasa has always been a "redemption land" for artist Huang Yuxing.

Unlike travelers who are amazed during their trip to the Tibetan autonomous region capital, Huang even became a lama for some time, studying and practicing Buddhism in daily life and attending spiritual ceremonies in Lhasa.

"Under the Vault of Heaven," a solo exhibition of Huang is currently underway at Shanghai's Long Museum West Bund.

It features nearly 30 artworks from each period of his career path over the past three decades, as well as dozens of works on paper and some documentation from the archives. Discounting the chronological order, the exhibits are reorganized based on the five themes of "Lights," "Rivers and Mountains," "Islands," "Revelries," and "World" to unfold his perception, imagination and introspection.

Born in 1975 in Beijing, Huang is widely recognized among his generation for his dexterous ability to create paintings that reflect and preserve the process of their creation.

'Under the Vault of Heaven,' Huang Yuxing's spiritual journey
Ti Gong

"Composition – A Thousand Miles of Rivers and Mountains 1-6," 2020-2021, charcoal and acrylic on paper

'Under the Vault of Heaven,' Huang Yuxing's spiritual journey
Ti Gong

"Childlike Quantum Mechanics," 2017-2022, acrylic and oil on canvas

Colors, brushstrokes, and traces of his hand endure on his canvases after being continuously overlaid and blended. The meticulous brushstrokes and intense colors that pervade his works are grounded in the traditional Chinese realistic technique.

Rivers, bubbles, treasures, sunrises, and sunsets are recurring motifs in his works that are presented with strong visual effect, yet embody his extensive study of individuals, nature, life and politics.

It was in the summer of 1996 when Huang received an acceptance letter from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. However, this did not alleviate the self-doubt and anxiety about growth that he had been experiencing. To escape from this predicament, he traveled to Tibet seeking a temporary change of life. The experience not only relieved his physical and mental agitation, but most importantly, he developed a new understanding of the world, the universe and particularly of himself.

Upon his return to Beijing, he created a body of work that was tinged with expressionism and fauvism.

About 10 years later, a new "fluorescence" series emerged. Metamorphosed landscapes, mountains and rivers replaced exaggerated bodies and portraits, shifting to a vibrant and mesmerizing motif and style, away from the gloom and dreariness of the past. Needless to say, religiousness and spirituality comprise a hidden clue of the expression in his art practice.

"Under the vault of heaven, you and I are just beings," the artist concluded.

Exhibit info:

Date: Through January 1, 2024 (closed on Mondays), 10am-6pm

Venue: Long Museum West Bund

Address: 3398 Longteng Ave


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