Sun Tzu’s Art of War

Wei Guangqing
2021 TBA

The Art of War, an ancient military treatise composed of thirteen chapters, is traditionally attributed to the military strategist Sun Wu, and dated to the Late Spring and Autumn Period (771 – 476 BCE). While in antiquity, the text served as a primer for inspiring soldiers, it has expanded its influence into politics, economics, and commerce in modern times.

Wei Guangqing drew inspiration from Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644) woodblock illustrations of Sun Tzu’s Art of War, in which thirteen chapters and two additional portraits of Sun Wu and his disciple Sun Bin comprise a total of fifteen images. Wei highlights characters in bright colors, representative of his iconic Cultural Pop style, while juxtaposing the illustration against a dull grey chessboard background, in which the arrangements of the game pieces all result in a draw. Wei attracts further visual interest by applying varying thickness of paint on different color planes, creating an intricate relief effect.

Wei Guangqing’s Cultural Pop reexamines a classical text and reinterprets the value of traditional culture in a contemporary setting. In Wei’s Art of War, the composition is intelligently planned out and painting meticulously executed, in the fashion of a military exercise or a skillful game of chess. Ultimately, the viewer is invited to reflect on the ancient wisdom of the legendary Sun Tzu and find resonance in the strategy of their modern lives.

Wei Guangqing, The Art of War, 2019, Acrylic on Canvas, 80 x 80 cm x 16 © Wei Guangqing


Guo Kai
January 9 – March 9, 2021

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In recent years, the subject of Guo Kai’s landscape paintings has gradually transitioned, from the deconstruction and reconstruction of traditional architecture nestled within a natural landscape to the landscape itself, specifically mountains, and the visual and symbolic significance mountains hold. As an architecture professor at Hefei University of Technology, Guo often accompanies students to draw from life from the abundance of heritage architecture in the southern regions of Anhui province. However, in recent years, the classic motifs of Chinese architecture, such as curving rooflines and grand archways seldom appear on his canvases, and are instead replaced with increasing abstract ensembles of mountains, from life drawing trips that he takes alone deep in the reaches of famous mountains like the Yellow Mountain. In terms of composition, the absence of a formal subject allows him to take complete and personal command of the canvas, where the faint contours of mountains become an elegant system of the artist’s symbols and gestures. With his muted palette and images frozen in time, this shift in subject has given Guo Kai a sense of belonging or attachment at the very heart of traditional Chinese landscape painting – the mountains.

Yi Art Institute
3F, Elephant Duo Art District, Lvzhoudong Road, Shushan District, Hefei
August 8 – September 7, 2020
Reception: Saturday, August 8, 3:00 pm
Hours: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm

Gallery Touring Exhibition
January 9 – March 9, 2021
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 11:00 am – 6:00 pm

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Guo KaiSept 15 – 24, 2019National Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, Taipei