Her work goes from figurative to minimalist, combining basic concave and convex forms in differing permutations attempting to demonstrate, that varying psychologies and the collective unconsciousness can be transmitted through the simplest visual symbols. Huang Jia’s “Waiting for New Hairstyle” series was selected into Guangzhou Biennale 1992 and her early works were inspired by Francis Bacon, Paul Delvaux and Lucian Freud, focusing on self expression and construction. To give our readers a broader perspective of her works and practice we arranged an interview with Huang Jia.
Huang Jia at coGalleries studio | Berlin, August 2019
Huang Jia, you are well-known as a representative of minimalist conceptual painting in China, can you tell us a bit about your career and how you got involved with art?
When I was very young, I was influenced by my father and started to study painting. Since graduating from college in 1985, I have used my works to build and construct my inner world in these 10 years. Once a person's self is obscured by something, it will produce anxious emotions. In the creation to find the root of inner anxiety, the purpose is to pursue and confirm the existence of my position in this world.
In your work you practice a lot of repetitions and layers of paint, when do you decide that a work is finished? When does a work of art become important for you?
I prefer to emphasize the interpenetration of each language in the artwork. By encapsulating visual statement into a minimum, transfer into a series of changes of point, line, and colour block creations, link with all experiences of physicality, consciousness, space and time, rules and order, formal logic, and sensory experience. The superposition and occurrence of all colour patches are like a metaphorical theatre of life. It is a reconciliation of the subjective subconscious; I have abandoned all the means of reference that create a visual impression. The maze of space is symbolizing the multidimensionality and infinity of time. By scrutinizing every subtle change in the work, the viewer sees the erosion of life from a real and illusory real world. Artistic creation is part of my life.
Paintings from series VOID TOPOGRAPHY, Huang Jia | Berlin, August 2019
Is there something special that you are working on at the coGalleries’ artist residency here in Berlin? Has the city inspired you in a different way from home?
The first impression of Berlin was that there were no skyscrapers, no flowers nor villas. The whole city was full of graffiti and young people with tattoos. The air was filled with the smell of beer, coffee and urine. After getting a better understanding of the city, I felt Berlin was an open and diverse city. If you would like to approach history, visit museums, enjoy theatre and dance, Berlin is definitely a great city for artists. I came to Berlin with a learning attitude and I am very grateful that coGalleries is giving me this opportunity. Due to the time limit, I just made a few smaller-sized works. After this exhibition, I believe I would rethink and experience different art forms from a completely new perspective.
In western media we hear a lot about China’s rapid growth and development as a global leader and technological inventor, especially from the greater bay area where you come from in Shenzhen. However, we don’t hear much about the situation of contemporary art over there. How is it like to be an artist over there? What is the situation of galleries and museums?
Shenzhen has developed into a thriving modern city in a short period of only 30 years. In contrast, contemporary art has not yet formed into a complete ecological chain in Shenzhen. The art scene is sparse compared to Beijing and Shanghai. However, there are more and more artists, galleries and project organizations that are breaking the regional border. Through those, good artists and projects are being brought over to Shenzhen, now Shenzhen ranks as the third fastest-growing city in the contemporary art market after Beijing and Shanghai.
On 22 of August the solo exhibition “Void Topography” is going to be open at coGalleries, where the latest works will be on show until September 2, 2019.