Wang’s work is characterized by an intensive exploration of the limits and possibilities of painting, while the artist develops a strong personal universe. creating expressive pictures of intense colours, marked by an artificially exaggerated reality; With a combination of abstraction and figuration inspired by art history, comics, politics, and animation, the paintings are at one sinister and humorous. He balances large, vaguely recognizable biomorphic forms within chaotic, multicolored backgrounds and heavily textured monochromatic fields.
The most recent “adventure series” collage works are partial computer paintings, part gestural abstraction and part silkscreen. They are multi-layered composites of different time periods of paintings, born from small sketches and reproduced images of larger works, cut and pasted, cropped and printed, then reconfigured; a new form of painting made possible in a digital era.
This body work combines maps and contemporary imagery such as Mine Craft, houses and neighbourhoods from the Sims and Super Mario landscapes to create a world that is at once entirely false and yet absolutely recognizable to the contemporary viewer.
The process begins with a deliberate narrative, constructed through this carefully selected and digitally edited background imagery. This order is then distorted with conflicting brush strokes and bright colours sprayed directly from the can to penetrate the perfectly flat and manicured surface, deforming the mechanical, pixelated imagery into something human and visceral. The contrasts are extreme however hints of text, the limbs of anime figures and Super Mario on acid remain visible, therefore imparting the viewer with suggestions of the original narrative from which the piece has grown.
Simultaneously this layering creates an information overload: gestures are noisy and brash, the process itself can become frantic and angry, intense and expressionist. Lightning streaks across the canvas and figures stare with enormous bewildered eyes; skeletons dance and melt into the background while mountains that seem familiar peek from around windows and doors; colours shift from bright sparks to murky depths as paint drips and pours as if from a sewage pipe. The layering sets off an organic process, which generates new things whilst masking others.
A sense of urgent immediacy is articulated through their high impasto technique and vivid, almost neon-toned colours. Wang doodles wildly over dark or light backgrounds in separated, unblended clusters. The artist’s obsessive mark making covers and re paints in a way that mimics the ever needing ‘refreshing’ of new information and images, the prevalent contemporary attitude that disregards quality, and prizes immediacy and quantity. The series is a critique of today’s contemporary condition: the loud onslaught of experience and imagery, and the sheer weariness of the eyes that still, despite exhaustion, lust for images and excess, used to the hyper-busy, fragmented and hot pasted mess of the current digital age.
“Our life is punctuated nonstop by information, you cannot shy away from it, people glued to screens, images, advertisements, photos, animations gifs all pound away at your conspicuousness everyday, it is the new landscape of our modern age, I remember when my father told me that when he was a student, he would go on field trips to the country side to draw what was for them deemed “real life”, nothing could be further from the norm now. Being born in the city, and moving to various other large metropolises all I know is brick and glass, especially now in Beijing, it is unnerving at times, buildings that used to be there, suddenly vanish, and huge structures that belong in science fiction movies take their place, the pace and evolution of a big city is exciting, intoxicating, you are swept up and just go with the tide at this crazy pace, I find rarely that you can scrape off some time for yourself to truly think and breathe” Wang speaking in 2016
The paintings are born from the artists’, angst, nervousness and you can feel his arm shaking as his makes work that seems to shimmer and zip from one end to the other as painterly energy flows through them, the way we live today is as much a founder for these works as the artist himself. Almost violent on the surface, the paintings are calm and tranquil at its core, and warn against a loss of humanity to the ever-suffocating digital presence. A cautionary tale.
About Wang Jiajia
Born 1985 in Beijing, China
Graduated from Central Saint Martins, London, 2009
Lives and works in Beijing and London
Pop the Champagne, Boers-Li Gallery, Beijing
de Sarthe gallery, Beijing, China
‘Across the Sea’
Studio Show, Beijing, China
‘It’s an adventure’
Lanng Art center, Beijing, China
Hai Gallery, London, United Kingdom
C5 Gallery, Beijing, China
‘The artist and the spells’
Red Zone Arts, Geneva, Switzerland
‘Thinking Bout you’
J space, 798, Beijing China
E Cube Contemporary, HangZhou, China
XYZ gallery, 798, Beijing, China
‘Home, Home again’
Alexandre Pollazzon Gallery, London, UK
Selected Groups shows
Empty Vanity group show, CYAP theme exhibition Galaxy Soho, Beijing, London
Zhong Gallery, Beijing, London
‘Adventure beyond the edge of time’ Eleven Howland, London, UK
Art Quest Art Beijing, Beijing, China
Artheke Launch show Hong Kong
Catlin Prize 2009 The Village Underground, London, UK
Room for my art Art Standing, Miami, USA
Martian Hearts Contemporary art projects, London, UK
Dialegs pictorics Galeria Manuel Alzuerta, Barcelona, Spain
Robert Dowling, Time Ellis, Nick Goss,
Michael Pybus, Jia Jia Wang, Alexandre Pollazzon Ltd, London, UK
Drawn In 00130 Gallery, Helsinki, Finland.