Video evening with DIVA Station: Huiqin Wang

Talk and screening
Tuesday, 24 October, 2023, 7 pm
Photon Gallery, Trg Prekomorskih brigad 1, Ljubljana

Huiqin Wang and Maja Pučl, Emptiness/Living Calligraphy, video, 2008

At the October edition of the Video Evening, we are hosting the painter and interdisciplinary Chinese-Slovenian artist Huiqin Wang, celebrating her 40th anniversary of living and working in Slovenia this year. In her many years of artistic practice, the artist pays special attention to the culture and history of the East and the West and the building of bridges between them. Her work is also characterized by numerous collaborations with various artists, which were either exhibited as video installations or the exhibitions and performances were recorded on video. We will present some of these projects at the event.

In conjunction with the Living Calligraphy/Melting exhibition in 2007 in Maribor’s KiBela, in collaboration with several artists, Huiqin Wang prepared a movement-art performance that combines traditional art forms with contemporary ones: dance, painting with light bodies and multimedia. The exhibition was based on the themes of change as a fundamental element of life and cooperation through art that knows no borders and reflects people’s desire for peace and the melting of old hatreds and misunderstandings. All this was expressed through calligraphy, traditional Chinese philosophy and the movements of butoh dancer Daisuke Sakaki.

In collaboration with the dancer Maja Pučl, Wang performed the multimedia performance Emptiness/Living Calligraphy in the Loža Gallery in Koper (co-production with KID Kibla, 2008). The project included dance, calligraphy and video screening. The performance was based on exploring the relationships between East and West, traditional and modern, physical and spiritual, presence and absence, birth and disappearance, visible and invisible, and image and movement.

In her long artistic practice, the artist pays special attention to preserving the memory of significant historical figures who built a bridge between East and West and are part of our shared world heritage. For several years, she devoted herself to the research of the Slovenian Jesuit and mathematician Ferdinand Augustin Hallerstein from the 18th century, who travelled to China along the Silk Road and became a court astronomer and mandarin there. Wang designed his artistic portrait and presented his life path in several exhibitions and various art media. On the initiative of Huiqin Wang, Kibla from Maribor carried out the two-year European partnership project Hallerstein intending to connect European and Chinese culture, cultural heritage, performing arts and sophisticated technology. As part of the project, a multimedia performance was held at SNG Maribor in 2009, also documented on video. Performance participants were Edward Clug (choreography and dance), Cameron Bobro (live vocals), Huiqin Wang (live calligraphy) and many others, produced by KID Kibla (integral concept by Aleksander Kostič). In 2010, the project was part of the Slovenian national presentation at the EXPO in Shanghai.

In the multimedia exhibition and performance May or May Not in 2012 at the Equrna Gallery, the focus was on the reinterpretation of two iconic images from the history of art depicting naked women next to clothed men – Manet’s painting Breakfast on the Grass and photograph of the chess game by Marcel Duchamp and Eve Babitz. The series of photographs and the video established a critical-humorous attitude towards the painting tradition and the reversal of roles. The exhibition was based on ideas: ideology-iconography, man-woman, east-west, trash-world. Huiqin Wang, Noriko Iwata, Marko Mandić and Bojan Brajković performed in Alan Hranitelj’s costumes.

In tandem with the sculptor Metod Frlic, they prepared the exhibition 社社主义時行 / Icons of Socialism in the Alkatraz Gallery in 2013. The spatial installation in different media addressed the similarities of the historical experience of the socialisms of Yugoslavia and China. An essential part of the installation was a video entitled An Illusion of Time, in which they carved a star on the wall of (at the time) crumbling building of Cukrarna as a symbol of changes in society.

In 2022, in collaboration with visual artist and animator Andrej Kamnik, they created the short animated film Alma, A Worldly Woman of Indomitable Spirit, which talks about the unique personality of the famous writer and traveller Alma Karlin, her youth, her stay in Japan, her work and life there. The animated film is based on the watercolour illustrations published previously in the book Little Alma on a Great Journey by Huiqin Wang and Milan Dekleva. In addition to Alma, Huiqin Wang illustrated picture books about Marco Polo, Giuseppe Castiglione and Hallerstein.

Huiqin Wang (1955, Nantong) is a Chinese-Slovenian artist. She completed her studies at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Nanjing Pedagogical University. In 1983, she participated in the Graphic Biennale in Ljubljana and has lived and worked in Slovenia ever since. She continued her studies at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana, where she graduated in 1986 with a degree in printmaking and in 1991 with a specialization in painting. She also advanced her studies at the Minerva Academy in Groningen, the Netherlands. Since 2000, she has been working in the field of contemporary art. She thematically combines the cultures and histories of the East and the West. She creates in the medium of installation, performance, video installation, painting, illustration, print and photography. The multi-awarded artist has presented herself at numerous exhibitions in Slovenia and abroad. In 2010, the City Art Gallery Ljubljana held a major retrospective exhibition, Huiqin Wang: An Interwoven Path. She teaches painting at the Faculty of Education of the University of Ljubljana. (Photo: Saša Kovačič)

Photo: Photon Gallery archive

At Video Evenings with DIVA Station, we host authors who are included in the archive and invite them to talk about their work and the background behind creating individual video projects. The presentation in the gallery (artist talk) is accompanied by projections with comments, followed by a conversation with the audience. The Video Evenings are prepared by Vesna Bukovec, a professional associate of the DIVA Station archive of video, film and new-media art.

Production: SCCA-Ljubljana/DIVA Station, Photon Gallery
Supported by: Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and City of Ljubljana – Department for Culture