N3 Contemporary Art is pleased to present Beholding, a solo exhibition by Huang Dan opening on 19th September 2020. Echoing the artist’s 2019 show, Raw, which presented an observation of and empathy for powerless yet vital individual beings, Beholding further explores the very vigor of impotent lives. In her recent work, Huang Dan continues to experiment with the language of ink wash and develops multiple textures and emotions on paper. She discards any representation of objects—the horses, the rocks and the pine trees—and renders them into a language that balances shapes, lines and colors. Huang Dan’s paintings thus construct a natural and liberated rhythm which the viewer can sense regardless of their perspective. It is through this rhythm that the artist presents her experience of the vitality of life.Huang Dan never conceals the painting process in her work. If you look closely, you will find faint sketches and diverging water stains around a seemingly well-composited subject. The traces record the artist’s body movements on the paper and the time she spent on the painting. In the sketchbook that Huang Dan carries around with her, there are plenty of similar drawings. When you turn the pages, they seem to form together one singular image: the image of horses often overlapping with that of mountains. Viewing Huang Dan’s paintings is like solving a series of puzzles—all of which lead to the same answer. The key to that answer lies in transcending our senses. Bodily actions will help us to see, to feel and to sense and thus to behold.To Huang Dan, nature means the raw, the wild and the vital. In her earlier paintings, she explicitly captures their resistible power of nature. The floods in southern China in the color vermilion was one of her frequent subjects. In later years, however, the opacity of mineral colors give the subjects in her painting (the horses, the monkeys, the lakes, the rocks and the mountains) a sense of volume and heaviness. Vast acres of ink and cinnabar create an aggressive visual effect. Huang Dan’s paintings repel any representational meanings and become a portal whereby the artist beholds nature.
In her recent work, Huang Dan continues her experiments with the language of ink wash and develops multiple textures and projects more emotions on paper. In Passage, for an example, the solidity of the greenish rock is in great harmony with the fluffiness ofits cinnabar edge; in Disorder, the velvet-like texture of the ink black horse contrasts smoothly with the cleanliness of the white paper and the metalicness of the gold leaves.For the first time, Huang Dan introduces entangled lines of peacock blue and cinnabar into her paintings. The lines capture the artist’s moving body and reveal traces of her actions. It seems that the artist’s painting process becomes a performance briefly recorded on paper. When viewing the traces, you can visualize and mimic the artist’s action in your mind— you can experience something unfamiliar and enter a dimension where the senses can be transcended.by Jiang Shan, Huang Danlei 黄丹，1979年生于中国广西。2001年取得中央美术学院学士学位，2004年取得中央美术学院硕士学位，现工作、生活于北京。
黄丹以水墨作为媒介，却超越了水墨的文化范式。“不破不立”的勇气与力量一直贯穿于黄丹的艺术实践中，她抽掉脚下传统的基石，只留下表达的必需品。在本能的驱使下，她从未停止对精神性的追求。黄丹反复实验着不同的话语元素，试图回避并跨过具象。她用想象力的巨大能量对抗日常惯性，用最静默的方式呈现最深沉暴动的生命情绪。黄丹擅于使用大尺幅宣纸，在避免过分细致描绘的同时，以概括性的轮廓、饱和的传统矿物色彩让自然万物属灵的瞬间得以显现。她以抽象为标杆，果敢抛弃描摹物象，弃绝了客观具象在绘画中的主导位置；借助至简材料与手法达到观念上抽象的表达。黄丹将作品的现代性诉诸于极简形式。她通过体察自然万物，不断创造新的画境，把心中悖谬可怖的悲剧印记转化为对“生”的礼赞。2006年，黄丹的首次个展于首尔呈现并出版个人画集《黄丹》。此后，黄丹于北京、上海、香港等多地举办个展，并参加了北京炎黄艺术馆、今日美术馆、北京民生现代美术馆、江苏省美术馆、上海美术馆、香港海事博物馆、中国文化中心（东京），毕尔巴鄂古根海姆美术馆等机构举办的群展，如“七十年代水墨新锐展”“中国新水墨展——视觉中国亚洲行”“新水活墨”“世界剧场”等。Huang Dan was born in Guangxi, China, in 1979. She later moved to Beijing to study at the Central Academy of Fine Arts(CAFA) and earned a BFA from the School of Chinese Painting in 2001. In 2004, she was awarded an MFA from the same institution. She now lives and works in Beijing.Huang Dan is a painter who is best known for her contemporary use of ink wash. She refuses to be framed by the cultural paradigm of traditional Chinese painting and her art rebels against historical and cultural contexts. The painter believes that one cannot establish the new without deconstructing the old. She projects her imagination onto paper to break from any certain settled conclusions implied by the so-called language of Chinese painting.The contemporaneity of Huang Dan’s art is manifested in two aspects: the abstract form as well as the sense of spirituality in her paintings. The former is not only achieved by discarding any representation of objects—the horses, the rocks and the pine trees– but also by avoiding fine lines and concentrating on abstracted form and mass saturated in vibrant natural mineral colors.“Spirituality” is one of Huang Dan’s ongoing pursues. Huang Dan is alert to her surroundings and she can easily empathize with the delicacy and powerlessness of individual lives. The painteris thus often overwhelmed by her intense emotions and feelings. However, she transfers those emotions onto the paper in a way that conveys a sense of tranquility. It is by depicting the tragic with the tranquil that Huang Dan celebrates the vitality of feeble lives.Marking her official debut into the art world, her first solo exhibition was held in South Korea in 2006; her first catalogue, Huang Dan, was also published in the same year. Since then, Huang has exhibited in many major cities in Asia, including Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Taipei. Her works were included in group shows of Chinese painting in art museums and institutions in Asia and Europe, including Today Art Museum, Beijing; Beijing Min Sheng Contemporary Art Museum, Beijing; Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai; Jie Mo Art Center, Nanjing; Hong Kong Maritime Museum, Hong Kong; CHINA Cultural Centre,Tokyo, Japan; Museo Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain.