Art Exhibition: Circle of Life – Art by Guo Yan and Pepe Hidalgo
The collaboration between Chinese-Canadian artist Guo Yan and Spanish artist Pepe Hidalgo happened naturally. Following the fifty dialogue paintings and multiple collaborative works of The Origin of the Souls Exhibition in 2020, they continue to explore the subject of life, presenting concepts such as life, survival, reality and fantasy to the audience with more engaging stories and images.
This exhibition, Circle of Life, will display three diptychs jointly created by the two artists, Lively Garden of the Future, Enter the Garden of Dreams, and Garden in Spring, as well as several stunning paintings created independently by the two artists. Life is an eternal theme. The two artists firmly grasp the issues of life in their works, fully expressing inspiration, exploration, interpretation, reflection, and eulogy of life.
Human beings are born, exist, grow, and develop in an environment full of uncertainty, and strive to create comfort, tolerance, and abundance, and achieve certainty. With the leap of human cognition and the rapid development of modern science and technology, human beings have greatly, rapidly, continuously, and infinitely expanded their living space. While bringing comfort, they also have seriously damaged the natural environment and ecological balance, which forces humanity to face the consequences. This is exactly the proposition of the times that contemporary artists are deeply concerned about.
Pepe Hidalgo and Guo Yan both use mountains, river valleys and forests as backgrounds, even in fantasy. In their paintings, humans are no longer in the centre or the only subject. All things have animism, and humans are only a part of coexisting with the environment and participating in energy conversion. The two artists collaborated on paintings such as Back to Mount Ararat, Promised Land, Tower of Babel, Noah's Ark in the 21st Century, and Enter the Garden of Dreams in a very romantic form, uncovering the play between humanity and its fate and environment.
Everything that Guo Yan created in her paintings is based on the real world, but it is not a replica of the real world. Plants, trees, spirits and life fill the picture, and consciousness transforms into spirits of the dark night, carefree and vigorous. Lives are flying and wandering in the mountains and forests. Brightly coloured light penetrates the vivid green, illuminating the scenes in the forest, either fresh, warm, or scorching, and abundant energy radiates willfully from the canvas. The old branches in the distance are strong and tenacious, and the new branches in the close-up are struggling to rise. The red branches spread like a weave of nerves and blood vessels, giving birth to a powerful life form. Those naked figures that have just been born are alive and kicking, but they also seem to be life that is alive after billions of years of reincarnation and replacement. The acquisition and endowment, release and acceptance of cosmic energy all are unfolded in her works, which are metabolized and endless.
Pepe Hidalgo mentioned in several interviews that he was expressing a moment, a certain time, or a certain situation. The unique time and space he constructs is absolutely separate from that of the audience. The moments he depicts are moments when time slows down or even stops, sometimes briefly, sometimes permanently. These spaces and times allow people to wander, traverse borders and dimensions, and return. In addition to stippling with what he calls atomic bubble-shaped dots, Pepe uses metaphors and symbols from the material cultural heritage of mankind to lead the audience through time and space between the past and the present. The scenes in his works not only look like civilizations lost in prehistoric times, but also like the magic and excellence constructed by technology in the distant future.
In this exhibition, Pepe Hidalgo’s four sets of triptychs show a positive timeline in his mind, a life cycle: Robotization, Genetic Engineering, Exploration of Another Planet, and The Fall of the Gods. Not to mention the definition of life by philosophy and religion, Pepe Hidalgo, as an artist, summarizes his profound thinking on life and uses the concept of time to summarize the beginning, development, end, and then starting point cycle, and uses his finishing touch "umbilical cord" to let himself shuttle between the past and the future. Sometimes he stands in the ancient times and asks questions about the present; sometimes he leaps into the future and reinterprets the history depicted in classical paintings. Although Hidalgo’s works are full of alterations, transformations, and variations, he did not actually "leave" the earth. It was the social environment in which he lived and the power of human reality that gave birth to every object and every life in his paintings.
We are all beings born on the earth, enjoying the vitality, aesthetics, empathy, pain, and pleasure that the world bestows on us. We have never missed the magnificent sunrise, never missed the blooming period, and never escaped any joy and sorrow. There are thousands of experiences in this life, so much to taste. When art moves us, it reveals hidden truths and allows us to see the world from a new prospect.
When we stand in front of the paintings of Guo Yan and Pepe Hidalgo, we see ourselves, the unknown, and the blooming of wisdom, art and life!