Salvation No.3 , 2015, bronze sculpture, 45 x 28 x 24 cm

Salvation No.3, 2015, bronze sculpture, 45 x 28 x 24 cm

Highly respected Chinese-Australian artist Guan Wei returns to Melbourne this October with a new exhibition of paintings and sculptures, titled Salvation. An opening reception will be held on Wednesday 5 October, 6-8pm.

Guan Wei’s latest exhibition at ARC ONE Gallery presents two series of work: Body, a suite of expressive paintings laden with spiritual and philosophical meaning, and Salvation, sleek and playful bronze sculptures depicting little human figures tethered to the Buddha’s head.

In Body, Guan Wei examines the relationship between the physical and psychological through an integration of symbols and the human form. Using Chinese calligraphy and sketching, he renders religious motifs into simple, graffiti-like images. Enchanting creatures, people, angels and little elves perch, float and tumble across the bodies of his canvases, pointing to the various spiritual and subconscious experiences that allow us to transcend the stresses and banality of quotidian life.

Such themes are similarly explored in Guan Wei’s sculptures, which bring together the tranquil Buddha with the lively human in a gentle equilibrium inspired by the Buddhist teachings of Zen. According to Guan Wei:

“Each of us wishes to be good, and has an inmate yearning for happiness. But amongst a busy, bustling world and our stressful, uncertain and secular lives, we have lost ourselves. Salvation is to present a happy life of Zen. A spirit which believes in people’s inherent tranquility and goodness, Zen requires a person’s heart to be free and to discover their true self – ultimately leading to a life of wisdom and happiness.”

With his consummate ability to create work at once light in tone and profound in message, Guan Wei finds a higher order of expression in these beautifully produced paintings and sculptures. Interlaced with the artist’s emblematic clouds, the works in this exhibition are powerfully drawn together through a material and metaphysical exploration of human life.

Guan Wei was born 1957, Beijing, China, and lives and works in Beijing and Sydney. He has won many awards, including the 2015 Arthur Guy Memorial Painting Prize, Bendigo Art Gallery, 2002 Sulman Prize, Art Gallery of New South Wales, and was selected for the prestigious 2009 Clemenger Contemporary Art Award, National Gallery of Victoria. Solo exhibitions include: Archaeology, ARC ONE Gallery, 2014; Spellbound, He Xiang Ning Art Museum, OCT Contemporary Art Terminal, Shenzhen, China, 2011; The Enchantment, ARC ONE Gallery, 2012; Other histories: Guan Wei’s fable for a contemporary world, Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, 2006–07; Looking, Greene St Studio, New York, 2003; Zen Garden, Sherman Contemporary, Sydney, 2000; and Nesting, or the Art of Idleness 1989–1999, MCA, Sydney, 1999.

Major group exhibitions include: Borders, Barriers, Walls, Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne; Collaborative Witness: Artists responding to the plight of the refugee, University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane, 2011; Shanghai Biennial, Shanghai Museum, China, 2010; 10th Havana Biennial, Cuba, 2009; The China Project, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, 2009; Handle with Care, Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, Adelaide, 2008; Face Up: Contemporary Art from Australia, Hamburger Bahnhof Museum, Berlin, 2003–04; Sulman Prize Exhibition, Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney, 2002; Osaka Triennial, Japan, 2001; Man and Space, Kwangju Biennale, South Korea, 2000; Third Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, 1999. Key collections include: Art Gallery of New South Wales; Art Gallery of South Australia; Art Bank, BHP Billiton Collection; Contemporary Art and Culture Centre, Osaka, Japan; Deutsche Bank; Ian Potter Museum, Melbourne; Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; and Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China.