The exhibition Het bloemblaadje dat tijdens het ochtendkrieken was gevallen... by the artist Evelyn Taocheng Wang is on display from September 3rd 2020 through January 31st 2021 in the Hermitage Amsterdam. Wang (Chengdu, China, 1981), won the ninth edition of the ABN AMRO Art Award for talented artists in the Netherlands and was given a year to develop the exhibition.
A recurrent theme in Wang’s oeuvre, including the work that she has produced within the context of this prize, is that of identity. The tensions surrounding the adoption of a new identity (in her case, as an immigrant in the Netherlands) and the way in which she relates to the language, customs and habits of Dutch culture – symbolised via her references to oliebollen, for instance – are central to the new works exhibited here. In 2019, Wang acquired Dutch citizenship. The language course that she took in order to strengthen her Dutch identity serves as the basis for this installation, showing the process by which she attempts to gain an understanding of the Dutch language. It is as though the adoption of a new identity, and all the confusion that can arise in the process, takes place before our very eyes.
The title Het bloemblaadje, dat tijdens het ochtendkrieken was gevallen, paktte ik op in de avondschemering is a quote that has been translated by Wang ‒ with a spelling error. It comes from a book by the Chinese writer Lu Xun (1881 - 1936) about his parental home. To him, this house serves as a significant source of memories. The way that architecture, like language, roots itself in our deepest memories holds similar importance for Wang; Ugly modern buildings in Amsterdam-West make her think of her homeland China.
Wang’s paintings highlight the struggles involved in adopting a new identity. By working solely with red, yellow and blue pigments, she flirts with the minimalism of Mondrian and De Stijl. Applying these pigments layer by layer according to an ancient Chinese method, they fuse into a new whole. Wang’s paintings on display here also refer to the characteristic light of the Lowlands, reflecting, for instance, on windows like those in the Hermitage Amsterdam: a building with history, having served as a home for elderly women for many centuries. Wang's paintings are associative and, at the same time, composed with deliberation. They assert that culture is an ambiguous entity, and affirm that identity is often changeable and elusive.
Art Price presentation in Circl.ART
Running concurrently with the exhibition at the Hermitage Amsterdam is a second presentation of Evelyn Taocheng Wang’s work at Circl.ART, the project space of the ABN AMRO art collection at the Zuidas. Titled Photosynthesis, it continues her investigation into how we imagine and formulate images of the ideal woman. This exhibition is on show till November 11th 2020. Click here for more information.
Jury ABN AMRO Art Awart
In selecting Evely Taocheng Wang, the jury of the ninth ABN AMRO Art Award has chosen 'an artist whose mysterious and seductive work refers in a unique manner to issues concerning gender, power structures and identity – and the degree to which identity is culturally determined. The jury is moved by the way in which Wang associatively links the autobiographical with the mythical, fairy tales, literature and (art) history. But ultimately, it is Wang's virtuosity of style and her strong sense of combining various materials and objects that in the jury's opinion lure the viewer into that rich and ambiguous world.’
Jury Members for the ninth ABN AMRO Art Award were: Maria Barnas, poet and visual artist, Danila Cahen, Curator ABN AMRO art collection, Stijn Huijts, Artistic director Bonnefanten, Maastricht, Xander Karskens, Director De Ateliers, Amsterdam and Silvia Zonneveld, financial advisor.
Evelyn Taocheng Wang
Evelyn Taocheng Wang (China, 1981, lives and works in Rotterdam) studied in Nanjing, China and at the Städelschule, Frankfurt. From 2012-2014 she was resident artist at De Ateliers, Amsterdam. She has been awarded the Dolf Henkes Prize (2019) as well as the Dorothea von Stetten Art Award and the Volkskrant Beeldende Kunst Prize (both 2016). Wang has had solo shows at FRAC Champagne-Ardenne in Reims, Carlos/Ishikawa in London (2019), KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin (2018), De Hallen in Haarlem and Galerie Fons Welters in Amsterdam (2017). Her work has been shown in various group exhibitions including those at Manifesta 11, Zurich; Fondazione Giuliani, Rome; Vleeshal, Middelburg; Stedelijk Museum Schiedam and The Kitchen, New York.
Image credit: Evelyn Taocheng Wang, 'Het gaat regenen! Eet smakelijk! (Mondriaan Oliebollen of Trashy Mondriaan)'