Luminous Birds presents a series of new works by contemporary Chinese calligraphy artist Wei Ligang (b. 1964), created during his residency at Yogya Art Lab in Yogyakarta. The artist finds that the creativity which emerges from the challenges and stimulation of immersion in a foreign culture is unique in reference to his previous practice—a novelty shift in perspective which is key to his creative process.
Luminous Birds is a series of recent works inspired during Wei’s travels in Indonesia in the summer of 2017. Filled with delicacy and spirituality, exoticism and naturalness, as well as analytical thought and an adventurous impulse, this body of works provides a unique window into the artist’s creative working process. Wei’s wide-ranging inspirations include the colors of the tropical scenery, the patterns of batik fabrics, bronze artifacts from the Jogja National Museum, the local food and music, Borobudur and the ancient architecture of the region, and so much more.
Wei also had the opportunity to experiment with novel materials, particularly bronze and locally made paper. In fact, the exhibition’s title comes from the artist’s use of these new and metal materials and paints. Wei sought to convey a quality of the legendary and divine; like the gorgeous and mystical phoenix, these works are full of unfamiliar ideas that have spread their wings and taken flight.
Wei Ligang is internationally recognized for his calligraphically-informed abstract work. For over three decades, Wei has sought to “modernize” Chinese calligraphy by drawing upon its roots and updating it for the future. Wei Ligang’s works are in the collections of the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco; the British Museum; The Musée Cernuschi, Paris; the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Seattle; the François-Henri Pinault Family, France; the National Museum of China, Beijing; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art among others.