Noble Knight In Shining Armour
Magnificent in colourful regalia
Splendid symbol of strength…
KNIGHTS By WEI HUANG
A Poetry of Duality and Fusion
What is it about Wei’s Knight that captivates and engages its viewer? Beyond the horse’s symbolism of gallantry and valour, Wei infuses into the sculptures of his Knight chess pieces, an element of philosophy and intrigue by cleverly deploying the use of yin and yang in his art. Indeed, Wei’s Knights reflect the profound philosophy of balance , the ‘yin’ of life gives meaning to the ‘yang’, almost always complementing each other.
Wei creates a ‘yin’ and a ‘yang’ design for his Knights, what he also refers to as a positive and a reverse design. Using that principle of yin and yang art space, he produces two distinctively different versions of a similar design. Put together, the pair of Knights mirror each other, offering the viewer a choice of two versions of one design. First, as a chess player and then as an artist, Wei understands the collector’s sentiments about collecting both versions, simply because each adds to the other, completing a beautiful set.
The Art Process
The designs are penciled in onto the skin of masking tape which is adhered onto the raw aluminium knight canvas. Wei then uses an art scalpel to cut out and remove unneeded areas of the masking skin, leaving the desired designs on the masking tape. This he does for both the positive design and the negative design, exposing either the negative image or the positive image. He then paints over the masked-tape body of the Knight. The epoxy paint acts as a layer of protection from the chemical etching. Wei likens the process to applying sunblock cream over naked skin and then exposing the skin to sunlight. When the masking tapes are eventually stripped off the two Knights, what we see is a ‘yin’ image (light) Knight and a ‘yang’ image (reverse) Knight.
Wei’s Knights are cast in aluminium eliminating the concern of rust. Albeit, aluminium can dull over time but the lustre is easily recovered with a simple polish.
Wei communicates the message of duality and totality in his renderings of the ‘yin’ and ‘yang’ design Knights. Through his Knights he also illustrates the beauty of cultural fusion. Western influence is evident in the gothic patterns associated with an armoured Knight and horse; while Eastern influence is seen in the Maori floral tattoo designs he adopts. Not surprisingly, Wei says the fusion reflects his personal life experiences and worldview, attributing it to his growing up in both Asia and Australia.
Wei Huang is particularly proud of his “Knight” series, born out of his love for horses as well as for the game of chess. Created differently from any knight chess piece one may find in the sculpture world, Wei Huang brings to the fore, the strength and magnificence of a warrior Knight. A battle armour is embellished on some of his Knights.
Wei’s Knights also come in vibrant colourful motifs. Like the Teddies, the Knights are individually cast and each is used as a canvas for his unique designs and motifs. Every design is hand drawn and then airbrushed.
Wei’s Knights with etched designs carry a distinctly different persona from the colourful airbrushed pieces.
As in the game of chess, Wei’s Knights symbolise the trusted lieutenant who stands sentry at the gates, defending, guarding and protecting, even as the battle of intellect, strategies and gameplans is played out in everyday life.