Face to Face : Regina Bogat, Wang Keping

  • 10.03.2016 - 29.04.2016|

Opening Reception: Wednesday, March 9, 6:00 to 8:00pm

Zürcher Gallery is thrilled to present Face to Face, featuring recent paintings from 2014 - 2015 by Regina Bogat and new sculptures by Wang Keping.

In memory of her travels with Alfred Jensen in the ancient ruins of North Africa, Regina Bogat achieved a series of paintings called Palmyra to pay a tribute to the “Venice of the Sands,” now threatened by the violence in the region. She pursues her own way of making works to conjure the darkness currently surrounding this incredible heritage of humanity.

Ahead of its time, Regina Bogat’s work resonates with the work of young artists today.

Regina Bogat set up her studio in Chelsea in 1948 and, in 1959, at 222 Bowery. She mingled with other artists frequenting the10th Street galleries, the Artists Club and the Cedar Bar, becoming close with many leaders of the New York School: Elaine de Kooning, Ad Reinhardt, Eva Hesse, Donald Judd, Sam Francis, Mark Rothko, who had his studio at 222 Bowery across the hall from hers, and Alfred Jensen, whom she married in 1963. Certainly their peer in artistic skill, knowledge, life work and originality, the rampant sexism of the time left Bogat largely unrecognized. Zürcher Gallery is thrilled to take the lead in correcting that injustice!

Regina Bogat shared Eva Hesse’s inventiveness in utilizing unconventional materials in her paintings and objects, working with wooden strips, dowels, and other versatile materials like Sculp-metal. In the 1970s, a new stage was reached when Bogat introduced nylon rope, thread, cord and enamel to her extensive list of materials. At this time, Bogat’s readings about the philosophy of the Tao and early Tibetan Buddhism influenced her interest in Chinese sacred mountains to which pilgrimages are made.

Ai Wei Wei wrote about his friend Wang Keping: « It has been 35 years since Wang Keping and I met in 1979. We were both young then. Wang Keping is an artist with strong characteristics, whose work is the most powerful among the Stars Group, expressing a strong political charge and primitive charm unique to wooden sculptures, ever since the beginnings. He is the first person in China since 1949 to reposition political idols into targets of satire and criticism. This was very shocking at the time. If we are to say that the Stars Group opened the first window to the fight for freedom in artistic expression for Chinese contemporary art, Wang Keping’s work would be the most characteristic spectacle from this open window. When we talk about the Stars Group and Chinese contemporary art at the late 1970’s, it is essential to discuss the relationship between Wang Keping’s work and the Democracy Wall movement. We were only loosely acquainted in China. Later I went to the United States and he headed to France. We both felt the political pressure in making art as contemporary artists and the fear generated from censorship policies. Many years have passed before we reconnected in New York ; he lived at my East 3rd Street apartment at Lower East Side. We had a great time together, discussing art and visiting galleries. We even went to see the Philadelphia Museum of Art together.

Wang Keping’s art possesses both a traditional understanding for sculptures and a unique interpretation for material and textures.

This individualistic interest and treatment, as well as his understanding of abstract form and space, give his work the personality and sensitivity of contemporary art.»

Ai Weiwei, essay in “Wang Keping”, catalogue published to accompany the solo exhibition of Wang Keping at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (2013.09.27 to 2014.01.05)

Wang Keping is one of the founders of the first group of “nonconformist” Chinese artists, Xing Xing (The Stars), formed thanks to the Beijing Spring (1979-80). We chose the name Stars, Wang Keping recalls, because at that time we were the only lights shining in an endless night and also because stars, seen from afar, seem so small, yet can prove to be huge planets."

A Red Guard during the Cultural Revolution, later a scriptwriter in Beijing for state television - after having lived through deportation to Outer Mongolia - poet and actor, he began to sculpt, working almost exclusively in wood, a material through which he freely expresses sensuality which, in China, even today, is still a cause for repression. Wang Keping offers up ex votos to common folly: everyday mutilations of body and spirit. Sex organs, buttocks, breasts or abstract figures are carved respecting the wood’s natural forms and the Chan (Zen for the Japanese) principles of yin-yang through which he strives to reach a form of universality.

Regina Bogat has exhibited across the United States and in Europe. Her work is included in prominent collections. In 2014, the Blanton Museum (Austin, Texas) acquired a major work, Cord Painting 14, 1977.

In 2015, Regina Bogat was shown by Zürcher Gallery in a solo show at Frieze New York (Spotlight Section curated by Adriano Pedrosa). Zürcher Gallery was one of the 5 shortlisted galleries highly commended for its presentation of Bogat’s work for the Pommery Stand Prize at Frieze NY. In the Summer 2015, Regina Bogat was invited by Sarah Cain to be part of her solo Sarah Cain Blue in your Body, Red when it hits the Air at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA.

Wang Keping’s works are included in Aidekman Arts Center, Boston; Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, Oxford ; Musée national d’art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris ; Fonds municipal d’art contemporain, Paris ; Fondation Claudine et Jean-Marc Salomon, Annecy; He Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen ; International Sculpture Park, Pu-Yeo ; Museum of Contemporary Asian Art, Fukuoka ; Museum of Modern Art, Taizhon ; The China Club Collection, Hong Kong ; Musée Cernuschi, Paris ; Donation Uli Sigg, M+ Museum, Hong Kong ; Olympic Games Park, Seoul ; and many private Foundations and Collections.

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