Since 2014・Volume 4
News, Reviews & Coverage of the Artists using Ballpoint Pens, the Artwork They Create, the Tools They Employ & Other Equally Newsworthy but Overlooked Art & Cultural Topics, Worldwide.
Artistic indulgence has always played a part in
Wai's work—''Spontaneity is important in the
process of my drawings,'' he insists—but current
events have seeped into recent works. Wai now occasionally touches upon sociopolitical topics
in a new series, Dauntlessly, which he describes
as ''a series of drawings about skepticism of
justice.'' Dauntlessly, 14 Year Old Chalk Girl
(2015) references flowers chalked onto the
wall of a government building by a Chinese girl,
whose subsequent arrest made headlines.
Dauntlessly, Charlie Buddha 1 (2015,
pictured BACKPAGE) references the killing
by Islamic extremists of the staff of a French
publication which had satirized Muhammed.
Wai's most recent addition to the series,
Dauntlessly, Shade of a Flower (2017,
pictured above), repurposes the motif of Chalk
Girl. ''The girl was arrested by 10 policemen,''
explains Wai. ''She was sent to a children's home
and detained for two nights until a kind judge
released her, as the situation had created strong
criticism. I am showing her flower as an extension
of the protest.'' Shade of a Flower was selected
for inclusion at Ink Global, an expansive group
exhibition held in early August, 2017, at the
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.
This year's event commemorated the 20th
anniversary of Britain returning Hong Kong to China.
Continuing from the HEADLINES 1 page ...
Even if the artist, himself, neither consciously knows where his lines are going from the start nor has an explanation for them in the end, his intuitive strengths are unquestionable. Regardless, the seemingly random strands of line strokes show different things to different viewers. What looked to me like a satellite-view outline of Japan in A Moment of Truth 27 (2014) turned out to be sheer coincidence. ''I don’t draw figuratively. I don’t imagine a part of (a piece) as mountain, river, animal, or other forms. Human body parts are also included—they can be veins, nerves or muscles. I do draw them (in AMoT) but they are no longer what they were.'' Wai elaborates: ''Looking at the drawing, we might still be able to tell what individual parts look like, but distance, time and perceptions are no longer meaningful.''
Wai began his A Moment of Truth series in 2011 with the idea of ''exploring a state of nature which is beyond our human sensations.'' Wai's artist statement introduced the ongoing, evolving project as ''drawings which take a point of view that in a dimension there is no determination about all space, time, objects, perceptions and intuitions. Space and time have become independent fragments of instants. In the drawing, they are represented by different appearances of fragmented objects according to the way we perceive their existence in space and time. None of them is dependent on each other in the drawing, and none of such formations represents a necessity for such combinations.'' By drawing many different elements together, he feels, ''a new dimension is created. Not only there is a kind of harmony, but also a kind of contradicting tension. I always think this new dimension is not permanent. It can only exist very briefly. That’s why I used 'A Moment' in the title. And the 'Truth' refers to the gathering of true characters.''
In A Moment of Truth 51 (2017, pictured HEADLINES 1),
elements of Wai's Rorschach Test-like composition present the
possibility of more literal, and extreme, interpretations. Some
viewers might unassumingly enjoy what is nonetheless an
explosive image, but, with feathery color and linework seeming
to radiate from some imaginary point of impact, viewers could
very well be witnessing a beautiful bird at the very moment it is
struck by a bullet. There's an undeniably elegant violence to
the piece which illustrates the subjective power of art
regardless of the artist's intentions. Wai offered no reply when
presented with the impression. The use of color in AMoT 51
shows Wai expanding his palette, utilizing ''new ingredients''
and experimenting with their application: ''Colors are painted
at the back of another piece of paper, and diffuse to the
drawn surface when both papers are wet.'' Wai's preferred
drawing surface is Japanese washi paper. Here it aids in his
innovative process, and its textures also add to the mood of
this and many other compositions.
A poem Wai wrote for a 2008 drawing A Rhythm of… makes note of disparate elements one might see in his artwork :
A rhythm of ...
Salt of the sea. Grains on the sky. Caves in the dawn. Stones in the dusk. Zephyr. Shores. The cliff.
Birds fly without wings. Rocks surf yet dry. Lives and lines lie in the rhythm of your mind.
INPRINT by X. Xxx posted March 1, 2016
PENNAME by O. Lebron posted August 12, 2017
Explaining Wai Pongyu Wai・Hong Kong
TITLE ・DATE ・MEDIUM ・SIZE
Above : Dauntlessly, Shade of a Flower 2017, ballpoint pen on paper, 96.5 x 178cm (38 x 71'').
Left : Bauhinia (detail & in-full ) 2007, ballpoint pen
on paper, 154 x 102cm (61 x 41'').
Bottom : A Moment of Truth 1 (2011), ballpoint pen
on paper, 29.7 x 21cm (12 x 9''). Artwork © Pongyu Wai.