Weng Jijun
Lueur des Astres

2024/03/28 - 2024/05/25
DUMONTEIL Contemporary
8 Rue d'Aboukir 75002 Paris
DUMONTEIL Contemporary is pleased to present Lueur des Astres (Glimmer of the Stars), the solo exhibition of Shanghai-based Chinese artist Weng Jijun, featuring over twenty of the artist’s most recent Chinese lacquer works. This marks the artist's fourth solo exhibition with the gallery.

Through the traces of lacquer, Lueur des Astres explores the profound connection between humanity and the cosmos, matter and memory in varied dimensions, as well as Weng’s artistic pursuit of a language that embodies the essence of lacquer, its characteristics, and culture.

The lasting beauty, a dance of memories, a vibration of colors, a fascination with details, the sensitivity to the vast and the mysterious, and the interplay of the known and unknown: all of these aspects form the foundation of Weng Jijun's practice.

In the colors and textures of Weng's lacquer-based artworks, a cosmic story unfolds. The colors are not just pigments; they have become the legacy of ancient stars. The textures are not mere patterns; they reverberate the echoes of stellar explosions. From coarse patina green to satin turquoise, the color and the texture interact with each other in rich dynamics; from microscopic life to nebula trails, the subject matters integrate into the visual elements through artistic imagination. The multitude of Weng’s abstract expression has fully embodied the aesthetic intricacy of lacquer.

This duet gradually discloses as one walks around the arrays of artworks. A series of pink symphony of panels celebrates the metaphorical meanings of the circle and sphere: the planet orbits, the tree rings, the fingerprints — shapes and marks that point to the origin of the universe, the flow of life, the unique imprint of being. A group of enigmatic abstract totems emerge like never-before-seen objects from archaeological excavations or foreign civilizations.

In Weng’s four-decade-long exploration of lacquer art, he gradually breaks free from the binary divisions of artist and artisan, tradition and modernity, the Eastern and the Western. It is true that in practicing lacquer, an art form that predates any written communication, these divisions from Western modernization are hardly applicable.

Each work reflects a deep engagement with time, the passage of hours, days, and centuries to come. Each process marks the accumulation of memories. These memories are microscopic, revealed through the delicate process of coating, overlaying, covering, grinding, and revealing layers of lacquer. These memories are macroscopic, intertwined with the history of human civilization and the inheritance of cultural heritage.

This interplay between the microscopic and macroscopic realms of memory infuses lacquer art with a sense of innovative retrospection. They serve as a kind of nostalgic remembrance of bygone eras, encompassing diverse cultures, lifestyles, ideologies, and values lost in the march of modernity.

Through Weng's deep understanding and practice of lacquer, he extends an invitation to contemplate the vastness of the universe and the timeless nature of memory, as well as human species’ place in the grand tapestry of existence. Standing before Weng Jijun's artworks, one is reminded that art is not a mere reflection of life, but an integral part of it—a testament to the enduring power of creativity and the human spirit.