M&O 2018 | Wei Pan: calligraphy, painting and lacquerware

Art&Craft / 1 Aug 2018 / Translated by Jessie Yang

Wei PAN, graduated from the department of fine arts in Shanghai Donghua University, embarked his art career in 1990 when he was pursuing overseas studies in Japan. He is currently the guest professor at Musashino Art University. Since 1989, He has held more than fifty exhibitions in China, Japan and other European countries, earning him the reputation as the representative of Chinese artists in Japanese art circles.

Pan excels at using ancient Chinese characters and art patterns to explore the concept that "calligraphy and painting have the common origins". The lines, ink patterns, and calligraphy in Chinese painting are closely related, so people can't divide calligraphy and painting since they are compatible and coexist with each other.

Characters, 2012, mixed-media on paper, 42x62cm

Before engaging in abstract art, Pan Wei has learned Chinese calligraphy for a long time. The pictographic words from ancient books such as oracle inscriptions, seal characters, inscriptions and official script are his inspirations. Chinese ideographic characters originate from hieroglyphics, that is, extracting symbols from images and visualising the objects. At the beginning of their birth, Chinese characters integrate well with paintings, thus forming a unique Chinese calligraphy aesthetics.

Characters, 2012, Lacquer, Wooden Body, 15x6.5cm

Wei Pan has a profound understanding of the visualisation of Chinese characters, and he puts great emphasis on the expression of traditional culture elements. In art creation, he transforms calligraphy and Chinese characters into the visual aesthetics with stipples and lines.

His masterpiece ‘Characters’ is one of the examples which visualises characters and art elements.

The "texts" in the work are recreated according to the existing hieroglyphs, deriving from our daily lives. The artwork is meant to blur the boundary between pictures and texts, surpassing the original meaning and become the symbols which are closely related to the visual language of abstract paintings.

The designer first applied excerpts from ancient books to the surface of the bowl, which is made from elm and lacquer paints. Afterwards, ink calligraphy was written on its surface several times to protect the paint, along with the polishing procedure. The last process is applying protective coatings.

Wei Pan skilfully blends his aesthetics preference into his works, demonstrating the expressiveness of the material and texture. He tried a comprehensive set of materials, such as corrugated paper, propylene, oil paint, gouache, gauze, hemp ropes and so on. These materials leave a three-dimensional fluctuation on the surface, weaving a group of indiscernible characters into a reticulate pattern, protruding on the artwork.

Image source: Wei Pan

Wei Pan

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