Beyond Calligraphing–Wang Bo-Cheng Solo Exhibition
- 2023/11/16 - 2024/01/15
Wang Bo-cheng (1983- ) has been steeped in literature since childhood, and the insights and epiphanies he gained therein are revealed in the linework and characters structures of his calligraphy as well as in his painted works. During his student years, the range of Wang’s creative output expanded to include sculpture and architecture, and ever since then his explorations have moved unhindered between points, lines, surfaces, and three-dimensional forms. This exhibition is the first public showing of Wang’s performative artworks in which he uses his fingers and palms in place of a calligraphy brush. He uses the opening, closing, and twisting movements of his hand to interpret the ancient techniques of “twirling the brush’s handle” and “revolving the brush,” such that palms leap across the paper with all the dynamism of a brush’s tip. However, what has not changed in Wang’s work is the concept of imbuing paintings with the techniques and aesthetics of calligraphic brushwork. It is within the limits of that established framework that Wang’s limitless style evolved.
Throughout a nine-year-long series of explorations that Wang Bo-cheng refers to as the “beyond calligraphing,” act “beyond” allows “writing” to remain, while blurring the written “characters.” To write Chinese characters is to write time itself; this is a practice of seeing that arrives at the point of actually glimpsing nothingness. Within the limited space that can be devoted to a piece of writing, the contents of calligraphic inscriptions are enveloped by and heaped up within the order that comes from time. In the final product, whatever “characters” can be discerned become pure “vestiges” and/or “agglomerations.” They turn into what Lao-tzu referred to as “formless forms.” Characters written in the past, present, and future encounter each other in the same space, much like the crosshatched texturing strokes found in traditional Chinese landscape paintings. This element echoes Wang’s life philosophy: be alive in the past, present, and future. The present moment morphs into the past, just as the future suddenly becomes the present. We all live within the span of the inhalation and exhalation of each solitary breath. These traces of Buddhist principles are embodied in Wang Bo-cheng’s creative works.
The texts in the “Way of Weak Calligraphy” series derive from the Heart Sutra, the Thousand Character Classic, Wang Bo-cheng’s poem “Half-beat slower than others,” and samplings of different Sinosphere dialects. These works demonstrate the superficial, ultimately empty appearances of heaven, earth, and all between, as well as the fundamentally empty nature of all things. They also demonstrate the timelessness of calligraphic culture, and the epiphanies that emerge from self-examination. It is Wang’s hope that the energy he irreversibly released through chanting and writing calligraphy will resonate with the souls of all those who view these works. May this exhibition allow us to probe the links between ourselves and the world via our memories of that which we can control in life, as well as that which we cannot.