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Wang Kuokuo

Pure Existence in Life

 Wang Kuokuo juxtaposes concretized form with abstract rules, trying to break through solidified social form by way of a kind of natural inaction. His endorsement of natural inaction is conveyed through animal emotions, while social form is metaphorized by fences resembling cages or abstract lines standing for legal articles.

 The most straightforward animal emotions have given Wang Kuokuo a profound revelation. The artist confronts these emotions and uses empathy for a range of emotions to generate new thinking, thereby expounding Zhuangzi’s most traditional philosophy: to abandon the man-made, and leave nature to itself. In response to the depth of anxiety brought about by reality, Wang Kuokuo seems to have found the best way to detach himself from it.

 The instantaneous impression of animal emotions, and their effect of blurring time, become something that touches us “momentarily”. That is to say, regardless of one’s point in time, the most primitive and candid sentiments conveyed to people are common to all: an eternally provoked “empathy” disassociated from time. Here is presented the freedom of individuality, whether of laughter, of sadness, of calmness, or of joy.... But the harsh abstraction of the background threatens its independent existence, thus establishing a pseudo-harmonious spatial order that is both contradictory and at the same time reasonable.

 Wang Kuokuo starts from the collision between rules, freedom and reality. This is reflected in all his creations: it is the central axis of his creation. Representation and freedom, abstraction and rules, map out a contradictory yet reasonable existence through the juxtaposition of two sets of concepts.

Starting from the self, in the creation of these works the artist combines his open-mindedness with an animal consciousness, and shows us a natural state of life. This is a leisurely state of ignoring social and cultural systems, dissociating oneself from conventional wisdom, and neither denying nor affirming acknowledged truths. The wisdom generated by the constraints of nation, economy, culture, and morality is helping mankind move toward a higher civilization. However, the influence of social culture and collective unconsciousness makes it difficult to produce original analysis. Atavistic thinking may give us a hint of clarity here, and integration with animal consciousness can be regarded as a perfect means. A pure state of life, a minimalist mode of thinking: here survival is the ultimate goal, and the leisure beyond this also highlights a Taoist quality of inaction, wuwei, impervious to material considerations.

Gao Peng

2018 in Chongqing

Translation: Edward McDonald @ The Compleat Translator 老馬文通

Edited by: Christine Gu


Lives and works in Chengdu, China



Born in Shandong


Bachelor of Arts in Oil Painting, College of Arts Chongqing University


Solo Exhibition



Antithesis and Transcendence, Red Gate Gallery, Beijing


Group Exhibitions



Shengtang, Shengtang Art Centre, Chengdu

Status Quo, Red Gate Gallery


THUNDERBOLT 2017 SURGEArt POP-UP, Red Gate Gallery


In Spring, 798 Xian Sheng Gallery, Beijing


The Way to Watch, Phoenix Hanzhang Art Center, Beijing


I am in Chengdu, Jishan Gallery, Chengdu


Whiplash!!! Celebrating Ten Years of Emerging Artists, SURGEArt, Red Gate Gallery


Spring Journey - Youth Invitational, U Art Space, Chengdu


Youth Nomination, Artjia Gallery, Chengdu


Youth Invitational, Black Casket Movement Art House, Chengdu


Time’s Stage Play, Shanghai Ban Dao Art Museum, Shanghai


Give Me a Space, Ji Tao Space, Chengdu


Live in Gorilla Planet - Wang Kuokuo and Zhang Chaoji, Zendai Museum, Shanghai


Shanghai City Youth Art Fair, Shanghai International Exhibition Centre


Asian Contemporary Art, Conrad Hotel, Hong Kong


Landscape Zoo, Himalayas Art Museum, Shanghai


An Exhibition, Blue Roof Art Space, Chengdu


New View - 100 Invitational Contemporary Art Exhibition, Wenxuan Gallery, Chengdu


Retreat, Slow Growth, Dawei Art Museum, Chengdu


10th Korean Fine Arts Exhibition, Chungju Culture Centre, Korea


Across the Field Exhibition, 798 Art Space, Beijing


Blue Roof Community Art Exhibition, Blue Roof Art Gallery, Chengdu


Transcending Reality - 100 Jinling Art Exhibition, Jiangsu Art Museum,



Artist Statement


The Origin·Temperament series marks a change in my mental state when creating works. At the time, the confusion and anxiety about the status quo became a wall surrounded by mysterious fog, which stood in the way of my life and artistic creation. In my spare time, I came across the two facial expressions of gorillas in the animal world, contemplating and laughing. I was immediately touched by their emotions. Those emotions differentiate themselves from the current human condition originate merely from instinct. I think “survival first” is growing apart from us. Quality of life that we pursue has become the collective subconscious of the society, which makes us more susceptible to following desires. As Plato’s metaphor of desire, it is just like a wild horse. Therefore, I want to prompt the audience to reevaluate our existential thinking by showing the pure life state of animals.


The period of making Recreating Landscape fills my heart with a mixed feeling toward tradition, with recognition and respect while maintaining the desire to rebel against it. On the one hand, I strive to pursue the information conveyed by historical tradition and I am immersed in the inherent spirit of classic landscape paintings; I cannot reach the harmony of man and nature shown in these paintings, but I also cannot resist the urge to recreate them. On the other hand, I often doubt whether it is necessary or reasonable to inherit these classic landscape paintings in a contemporary context; How does one present a renewed tradition? How does a landscape painting which has reached perfection interact with the mundane modern approach? How does the fusion of the classic and the modern continue the value of Chinese landscape paintings? These are the questions that I have been exploring.


Even in progress, a nation loses part of its spiritual heritage, perhaps emotions, perhaps consciousness. I hope I will be able to incorporate classic landscape painting and contemporary art in my own ways with an attitude suitable for this world, hence combining the beauty of the earth and humanist care.


The abstract rules that coexist in my works is a connecting point between naturalism and societal construct, both of which I admire. Through the pseudo-harmonious spatial order with both concreteness and abstraction, a kind of “empathy” is created because of the contradiction. Even though time is pulled away, as long as we gaze upon existing human emotions, we can resonate with them. They would make us aware of and reflect on the present moment.


Wang Kuokuo

2018. 08. 23


Translated by Christine Gu

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
[email protected]
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