Pak Keung WanArtist, Lecturer / academic
My current practice is performed through drawing, moving image, photography and Installation. I liken these to transitional states through which my concerns with time and form, being and relations with the natural world are enacted, within which I manoeuvre. Drawing has been consistent throughout my practice. I see it as a type of behaviour, a form intrinsic to life and which inhabits me. Sensing from within, I feel acted upon as I am drawn to, drawn by. In the space of making lies a source for invoking forces beyond human agency. Gravitational attractions, the vestigial, biological time, such indeterminate energies chart a kinetics through the forms I employ, a descent from the incorporeal and made tangible, in a drawing, a (moving) still. Mediums are chosen to inform and articulate my ideas. For an ongoing body of drawings entitled Totipotenti, silverpoint is used to transcribe personal experiences of conception and loss. A medium that pre-dates pencil, it speaks to me about origins, of vision and form, a precursory vehicle for thought. Whilst in a related development entitled Lune, digital animation is utilised in order to 'give life' to hundreds of individual drawings which, in their static state, I see as 'still-forms'. I am conscious of my own form and participation within the work. Methods are devised in how to draw, as they are in how to stand, extend the arm, draw breath. Drawing for me is an expansive act. read full statement
1992-94 M.A in Fine Art Printmaking, Royal College of Art (Henry Moore Scholarship)
1989-92 B.A Hons Fine Art, West Surrey College of Art & Design, (1st class)
1988-89 Art & Design Foundation course, Nene College, Northampton
2010-11 Ellipsis, G1 Gallery, Solihull Arts Complex, West Midlands. (Gallery commission/Arts Council England funded)
2007 Morphologies, Fermynwoods Contemporary Art, Kettering, Northamptonshire. (Gallery commission/Arts Council England funded))
2001 New Work, Angel Row Gallery, Nottingham. (Gallery commission/Arts Council England funded)
1998 New Work, The Queen’s Gallery, British Council, New Delhi, India. (Funded by the Commonwealth Foundation)
1995 Spring Blows, Y/Bont Gallery, University of Glamorgan, Wales
Selected Group Exhibitions
2014 From Here & There: Drawings From the UK, ElysiumOffsite, Elysium Gallery, Swansea, Wales, UK.
2014 Small Works 3 NYC, Jeffrey Leder Gallery, New York, USA.
2014 Drawings From Here & There, Clara Hatton Gallery, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO. USA.
2014 Site-responsive intervention for Museums at Night, Pen Museum, Birmingham.
2012 Out-Line, Minerva Works, Birmingham. A show exploring diversity in drawing practice.
2008 Anonyme Zeichner No.9, Kunstraum Kreuzberg, Berlin, Germany
2005 Wunderkammer: The Artificial Kingdom, The Collection, Lincoln. A show exploring the links between art, collecting & archaeology. Curated by Edward Allington. Exhibiting artists include Hew Locke, Lindsey Seers, Marc Quinn, On Kawara, Dan Graham, Hannah Collins.
2004 Marks in Space, The Usher Gallery, Lincoln. A show exploring the relationships between drawing & sculptural form. Exhibiting artists include Cornelia Parker, Susan Hiller, Stefan Gec, Anya Gallacio, Richard Deacon, Alison Wilding, Richard Long.
2003 Pizza Express Prospects Drawing Prize, Loading Bay Gallery, Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, London
2002 O2xygen, White Box, Chelsea, New York, USA. A show addressing the concepts of breath & the disorders of breathing. Curator Jeff Koan Baysa MD. Exhibiting artists include Ann Hamilton, Marina Abramovic, Gordon Matta-Clark, Oscar Munoz.
2001 Hart 2001, Quay Arts, Kingston-upon-Hull. Temporary audio-visual installation for Grosvener Mill by the Humber River. (Commissioned work)
2000 Journey, 2-person show with sculptor Walter Bailey, Fabrica, Brighton. Performance / Sound Installation. A live transmission via mobile phone of a 6 week walk from Northampton to Fabrica. (Gallery commissioned work)
2000 Raid, site-specific works across Derby city centre. (Commissioned work)
1998 Six!, Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Omaha Nebraska
2014 Artist talk on my practice and the work created for the Pen Museum, Birmingham
2013 Invited Speaker, Symposium, The Insistence of Drawing, University of Northampton
2010 Solihull Arts Complex, West Midlands
2007 Fermynwoods Contemporary Art, Northamptonshire
2000 Artist talk, Serpentine Gallery, London
1998 Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Omaha Nebraska
2012 New Art Gallery Walsall, West Midlands
2004 Usher Gallery, Lincoln. Commissioned to produce a drawing installation for the show Marks in Space
1999 Artist in Residence, Northampton School for Boys, Northampton
1998 Artist in Residence, Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Omaha, USA.
1997 Artist in Residence, Lowick House Print Workshop, Cumbria
1995 Artist in Residence, University of Glamorgan, Wales
2012 Production of drawings of planetary bodies in the solar system for a childrens colouring-in book, Immersive Theatres, Birmingham
2008 Production of drawings of Chinese Constellations for the Planetarium, Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum. Also showing at the Williamsville Space Lab Planetarium, New York & the Stardome Observatory & Planetarium, Auckland, New Zealand
2004-05 Routes & Journey’s. Commissioned artworks in response to the site of Grange Park, Northamptonshire. Funded by Regional Arts Lottery.
2001 Hart 2001, temporary audio-visual installation at Grosvener Mill, commissioned by Quay Arts, Kingston Upon Hull
Other Professional Activities
2010 Bodies into Worlds, a sculpture & movement workshop for students on the National Diploma Fine Art course, Solihull College, Solihull Arts Complex, West Midlands
2010 Sculpture & touch-based workshop with the Royal National institute for the Blind (RNIB), Solihull Arts Complex, West Midlands
2008-10 Delivering Printmaking workshops to disabled children at Chadsgrove School, Worcestershire
2006/08 Drawing the Void, delivering drawing workshops to blind/visually impaired adults for ArtSense, The Herbert Gallery, Coventry
2002-03 Acting as a mentor under the Arts Council’s Mentoring Scheme, managed by Arts Training Central, Leicester
2010 Grants for the Arts, Arts Council England
2007 Grants for the Arts, Arts Council England
2002 Artist’s Grant for Exhibiting Abroad, British Council
2001 Grants for the Arts, Arts Council England
1997-98 The Commonwealth Foundation Fellowship Award in the Arts & Crafts. For the purpose of exchanging skills/ideas, travel & exhibiting abroad. Based at the University of Baroda, Gujarat, India. The award culminated in a solo exhibition at the British Council, New Delhi.
1994 The John Purcell Paper Purchase Prize
1992-94 Henry Moore Scholarship. (Awarded by the Royal College of Art)
2001 Pak-Keung Wan, Angel Row Gallery. ISBN: 0 905634 50 0
2004 Marks in Space, Locus 6, The Locus is the Thing, page 29, text concerning my work produced for exhibition, written by Alain Ayers. ISBN 0-9539238-2-7
2007-14 Associate Lecturer in Fine Art, Printmaking, Site-specific Art & Commissioned Art on the Foundation & HND courses, Birmingham Metropolitan College
2001-05 Part time lecturer in Fine Art, B.A Hons Fine Art course, Nottingham Trent University
2004-05 Sessional Lecturer in Fine Art, B.A Hons Fine Art course, University of Derby
1999-2003 Part time lecturer in Fine Art & Printmaking, B.A Hons Fine Art & Art Design Foundation course, University of Northampton
1995-97 Visiting Lecturer in Fine Art, B.A Hons Fine Art, University of Northampton
Invited Speaker on the Visiting Artist Lecture Programmes - Birmingham Institute of Art & Design, University of Lincoln, University of Derby, University of Northampton
10.12.2010 The Guardian Guide, Review of Ellipsis Exhibition, by Robert Clark
17.12.2010 The Guardian Guide, Pick of the Week Exhibitions
08.09.2007 The Guardian Guide, Review of Morphologies Exhibition, by Robert Clark
09.2007 The Guardian Guide, top of Pick of the Week Exhibitions for 5 weeks
12.2007 Artist Newsletter, Reviews section, by Hugh Dichmont
27.06.2001 The Guardian Guide, review of New Work, Angel Row Gallery, Robert Clark
'These must be some of the most sensitively skilled drawings around. With them Pak-Keung Wan is certainly an artist long overdue for international artworld acclaim. Yet it is hard to say what these drawings are actually of, never mind what they are about. But this is what makes them so charismatic. These meticulous forms, grown from thousands of creeping and crawling pencil and silverpoint lines, could be microscopic organisms, primal presences from inner or outer space or scientific verities. Their evocative range is that vast, seeming to take in some kind of numinous wholeness'.
Review of my solo show Ellipsis, published in Exhibitions, The Guardian Guide, Saturday 4 December 2010, Robert Clark
'I sense something special here.
Pak-Keung Wan's graphic presences & traceries of ritualised scenarios are so exquisitely realised they tend to elicit a speechless response of bemused fascination. What can one say? It would be so much easier to elucidate at length what this art is not, simply by listing the mainstream surface concerns of the contemporary artworld. Yet, despite Wan's art being resonant with some kind of otherness, despite its almost numinous mystique & its rigorous avoidance of attitudinal theoretical frameworks, it nevertheless deals subtly & intimately with surely a central problem of worldwide culture: the relationship of the wilful forces of individual human creativity with the virtually unfathomable forces of the natural world.
Wan's drawings might be full of seductive suggestions & evocations, yet they come about as a result of processes that couldn't be more meticulously planned & faithfully followed through. As the artist explains, 'each drawing consists of a single line yet evolves from a simple rule: that this line must return to its original point before projecting out again...' What eventually emerge from these intuitively driven yet disciplined rituals are elliptical ambiguities that defy definition in terms of figurative or abstract imagery. Neither are they figurative in being illusionistic portrayals of the observable or imaginable world, nor are they abstract in being purely self-referential aesthetic compositions. In fact Wan has clearly stated that it is never his intention to create images at all. It appears that Wan works on a drawing in order to be surprised, intrigued, even captivated by the outcome of his graphic explorations. So these things are some kind of unforeseen embodiments or realisations of the creative process, more like growths than manufactures, more presentations than representations.
Wan's installations of combined film, photographic, sound & sculptural elements comes across similarly as the traceries of wide-eyed exploration. He breathes random words into specially crafted receptacles which become crucibles of his own liquidised breath. Splashes of such liquidised life are filmed on high speed cameras & projected within the gallery's converted water tower. Something is going on here that is utterly vital, one might even say original, to use a term that has long since been discredited in art circles by clumsy misuse. There's a shedding of the mundane facades of prosaic & utilitarian communications to reveal something else below & beyond, something so convincingly life affirming that it needs to be, by its nature, ultimately indefinable in terms of the vocabularies of such communications. This is not really minimalist work. Whilst its focus might be said to be on the most delicate of microscopic impulses, its range of amazement can also be said to be as expansive as the far reaches of telescopic vision. It is for sure a measure of Wan's creative integrity, sensitivity & skill that work of such far ranging creative ambition is always characterised by a highly individualistic charm. Despite, or maybe precisely because of, Pak-Keung Wan's self-effacing devotions, this is charismatic art like no other art around.'
Text taken from the catalogue accompanying the solo show Morphologies, Fermynwoods Contemporary Art, 13 September-28 October, 2007
'In addition to the drawings selected for 'Marks in Space' there is also the work being undertaken by the artist in residence, Pak Keung Wan, which allows anyone visiting the Usher Gallery to see work and meaning enfolded in present time. You can see that there is actually a time frame and practicality to the production of drawing and that it can be quite physical as well as elusive.
Drawing doesn't necessarily happen quickly or become a framed work. Sol le Witt's wall drawings have been conceptually realised on a large scale and mostly installed by others via instruction for years, while Michael Craig Martin makes large scale linear and colour works of everyday objects through galleries and interiors in the continuum of a time based fresco. The hand marks and splashes of river Avon mud by Richard Long embody the temporal and made in-situ qualities that can coexist with drawing as can some of the work of Andy Goldsworthy.
Artists like Wolfgang Laib and Marina Abramovic have also informed Pak Keung about his practice and he has talked of the way that he is inclined to work through relinquishing the self and being informed by the dynamics and rhythms where a 'living time' in the space of the work is experienced. In the sun and mountain drawings there is a manifested vestige of memory and of being affected by the sun or mountain as he worked. The image of the artist on a platform straddling two ladders which is like the signature to the work at the Usher Gallery emphasises the presence of a cosmology. One of the spaces of the work (another being the streets of Lincoln) could be the space between the platform and the ground, where the sifting of the material is activated and settles to inform.
In the case of the work where Robert Rauschenberg erases a Willem de Kooning drawing, neither may be the maker of the work and in a durational sense it belongs to no-one. Pak Keung's concern for erasure is from within while at the same time the importance of instigating and taking part in the work is vital. The artist's interest in a kind of alchemy and Buddha nature in action is where disappearance and presence configure, where the drawing is made, and where it enacts its own surrounding and enveloping of the bigger picture that is made possible.'
Text taken from the 'Marks in Space' catalogue, which accompanied the drawing show at the Usher Gallery, 2004. Written by Alain Ayers. With reference to my work Aeolian (towards a cosmology).
'Pak-Keung Wan's Inhaled Rooms & The Vocal Life of Jars is an exhibition for all those who assume that conceptualism & minimalism are necessarily devoid of sensuous form. The artist makes art that is an immaculate embodiment of the concentrated process of the making of the art, & the effect is an elliptical enchantment. Breathed air is sealed in glass jars, which are delicately sand-blasted & installed in simple cubicles where a recording of the sound of the artist's finger running around the rims is played. All in all it offers an experience of primal wonderment.'
A review of the solo show at Angel Row Gallery, Nottingham. The Guardian Guide, Saturday June 16, 2001
|Location||Birmingham, West Midlands|
|Activities||Higher education, Further education, Lecturing, Practice-based research, Residencies, Workshops, Private commissions, Exhibitions programme|
|Artforms / type of project||Animation, Drawing, Installation, Intervention, Performance|
News & Events
From Here & There: Drawings from the UK
29/11/2014 – 20/12/2014
Elysium Gallery Offsite, The Old Iceland Building, 27-29 High Street, SA1 1NU, Swansea, Wales, UK
4 drawings from my Totipotenti series will be exhibited Open Wednesday – Sunday, 12 – 5pm Preview Saturday 29th November, 7-9PM
From Here and There: Drawings from Swansea to Colorado
26/09/2014 – 31/10/2014
Clara Hatton Gallery, Colorado State University, CO, USA
4 drawings from the Totipotenti series have been selected for this exchange programme of exhibitions between the Clara Hatton Gallery, Colorado, USA and the Elysium Gallery, Swansea, Wales, UK.