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Interview: Painter Wang Hongyun

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Throughout this year, Yunart Gallery will be promoting a new generation of young local artists through a series of group and individual exhibitions, organized by director Liu Lifen (刘丽芬). Beginning this Saturday, oil painter Wang Hongyun (王洪云) a native of Mouding, Yunnan, will be featured in a solo exhibition at Yunart Gallery entitled 'The Lost Scenery' (遗失的风景).

Currently a student at Yunnan Art Institute, Wang is preparing for three years of graduate understudy with renowned Kunming painter Chen Liu (陈流).On a cloudy Monday afternoon Wang sat down outside Yunart with GoKunming to discuss how he's gotten here and where he's going.

GoKunming: Why have you chosen 'The Lost Scenery' as the title for this exhibition?

Wang Hongyun: I'm from the countryside, so I tend to prefer things that are simple and unsophisticated. Chinese art became modern art almost overnight, and I think in that quick transformation the traditional scenery that was a big part of what was once Chinese art has gone neglected.

GK: How did you end up going from living in Mouding to studying art in Kunming?
Wang: I started painting when I was a kid. My father passed away and my mother was there to help me cultivate my painting. My mom has always been supportive of what I'm doing. I suppose you could say she's the person I love most in this world.

GK: Is this your first solo exhibition?

Wang: It's my second – I had a solo exhibition last year at Yunnan Art Institute. It's also my second time to take part in an exhibition outside of the institute. Last year I was selected to take part in the Yunnan Youth Artists Exhibition (云南省青年艺术家提名展).

GK: How much have you changed in your four years in Kunming?

Wang: I've become rather Kunmingified, but my mind and heart are still close to my home. My favorite thing about living here is how easy it is to leave the city and go somewhere with a friend and paint – I don't like painting indoors. Sometimes I'll go somewhere with my easel and paint 10 paintings in six days. Two or three will get tossed in the rubbish bin, but that's all part of the process.

GK: What are some of the places that will be featured in your upcoming exhibition?
Wang: There are quite a few: I've got paintings of Dali, Shangri-la, Tuanjie, Shiping... I've also got a few of Hongshan – the highest point in Kunming – it's just across the street from Yunnan Art Institute so it's easy to just walk over there and paint. I like to paint places and scenes that catch my eye, not necessarily what others might paint.

GK: What artist has had the biggest impact at how you look at oil painting?

Wang: Chen Liu has been a great influence on my painting, he's really an amazing painter. There are a lot of students like me at my school, I have to try my hardest and paint as much as I can. In my next three years studying under Chen Liu, I have too much to learn, especially in terms of technique.

Wang Hongyun's exhibition 'The Lost Scenery' will run at Yunart Gallery from May 23 through June 30.

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