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January 18, 2011

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Ink-wash painter treasures the little things

AN old kettle on the stove, a blurred family photo and a man's wide-brimmed hat are among the mundane objects of daily life that Wang Guo'an depicts in his ink-wash paintings.

The ordinary, overlooked objects come from a different era and Wang conveys that era in his solo exhibition at Liu Haisu Art Museum through Sunday.

Though many Chinese artists focus on modern life and surroundings, few focus on the minute, seemingly inconsequential details.

"To me, everything in life is meaningful and has a poetic touch," says the 50 something artist. "It's strange that some young people are so ignorant about some old objects."

Once Wang was struck by a framed piece of fabric on the wall of a friend's home in Europe and was told it was part of an old carpet in his grandmother's living room.

"The piece is a token of his love for his grandmother. I was deeply moved on hearing about this. And this episode dramatically changed my attitude toward art."

Rather than capturing the big picture, Wang takes a close-up look at the small things.

"This really broadens my scope of art," he says.

"I see the world in a grateful and poetic mood."

At first his wife was confused about his bizarre taste and interest in functionless objects.

"She was so bewildered when I got angry that she threw away a broken kettle," he explains.

"Don't look down upon those things. They are not fresh or high-tech, but they really exist in my life and were a part of my life. Sometimes the act of forgetting is a sin."

Date: through January 23, 9am-4pm

Address: 1660 Hongqiao Rd

Tel: 6270-1018


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