The Friends of the S.M.A.K. are showing work by Evelyn Taocheng Wang (1981, Chengdu, China; lives and works in Rotterdam) at De Vereniging. In her work she raises questions about identity and how time and space can make them changeable. On the basis of her Asian background she looks at Europe, her present home, with an almost alienated perspective. In her work, autobiographical experiences are combined with imaginary inventions for which she often goes back to stories from Chinese literature and philosophy, Western writers or stories of her friends and acquaintances.
In this exhibition, titled Sensitive Attitudes, she is showing a series of large works on paper depicting several scenes from The Dream of the Red Chamber (Cao Xueqin, 1791), a masterpiece of Chinese literature. The themes of these scenes are related to sexuality, a frequently recurring theme in Wang’s oeuvre. Classical Chinese painting resonates in her paintings and drawings; on the one hand she looks back to her education in China and on the other she reinterprets traditional working methods and techniques in a highly individual and contemporary way. Her solo presentation also includes two pieces from the installation entitled Four Woman Seasons of Woman Tragedy (2017). These sculptures are a metaphor for the course of a female life in which minor tragic events occur. They are made by hand from precious wood and are used to hang clothes on, all items from Wang’s wardrobe. In addition to Winter, the boat-shaped sculpture Shirt Boat will also be on show. This work is a bridge to the third section of the exhibition, the video entitled Dusk. Here we see Evelyn Taocheng Wang on a boat-trip on the river in the city of Haarlem, a place of great significance in the history of art in the Low Countries. The artist is accompanied by a half-naked man and woman who symbolise the gods of classical antiquity. In this video, Wang reflects on the representation of the body in Western art, whereby she creates a dream world in which she appears alienated yet still tries to get a grip on a possible encounter between the two cultures.
The friends of S.M.A.K. produced a limited edition with the artist.