Guang Yao Wu Artist Talk

23 February 2023
Guang Yao Wu on YouTube

Guang Yao Wu

The Chinese artist Guang Yao Wu, born in 1959 in Shanghai, China, studied at the Shanghai School of Art from 1979 to 1982 and at the Central Academy of Art in Beijing from 1984 to 1987. In 1989 Wu left the country and moved to Germany, where he completed his studies at the State Academy of Fine Arts in Karlsruhe in 1995. Gallerist Dr Dorothea van der Koelen has been working with the artist closely since 1998, as evidenced by several solo exhibitions – 2004, 2009, 2017 and most recently 2020 – numerous participations in the gallery’s renowned theme exhibitions as well as its fair presentations and, last but not least, a publication by Chorus Publisher for Art and Science.

Wu’s understanding of art is constituted at the interface between Western Art Tradition and Far Eastern philosophy. These two poles feed his individual visual language, which combines the basic principles of ‘Constructivism’ and ‘Minimal Art’ with the world of thought of Chinese culture.

Guang Yao Wu is known to the international art world primarily for his Drop Paintings, which he has been developing since the end of the 1990s, and the series Stroke (since 2009). For his Stroke paintings, the artist uses unprimed canvases. On a picture surface no larger than the reach of his arms, he applies the paint with vigorous brushstrokes from top right to bottom left. But Wu’s application of paint is fundamentally different from the calm and calculated brushstroke of the classical painter: he beats the paint onto the canvas more than he paints, and he wants to depict nothing but the process of painting itself.

Cultural anthropologist Antonio Quint Vila travelled to Karlsruhe to meet Guang Yao Wu in his studio for an interview. Our Video of the Week begins with an introduction by Dr Dorothea van der Koelen. Afterwards, you will hear what the philosophical artist has to say about the historical and humanistic foundations of his art and his way of working.


G. Y. Wu - Drop
G. Y. Wu
Drop ‧ 2004
2 etchings
25 x 25 cm, ed. of 40 copies
inv. nº 2285
G. Y. Wu - Two grey brushstrokes
G. Y. Wu
Two grey brushstrokes ‧ 2017
oil on canvas
205 x 205 cm
inv. nº 5215
G. Y. Wu - Model of Painting B
G. Y. Wu
Model of Painting B ‧ 2020
multiple with wood and microphone covers
40 x 40 cm, unlimited edition
inv. nº 5636



Works 1995–1998

Gert Reising (hrsg.)
Guang Yao Wu Works 1995–1998

Mit Texten von Helmut R. Leppien, Gert Reising, Michael Hübl, Klaus Schrenk 1998 € 25.00

Dr.  Dorothea  van der Koelen