Dongmen Yang & Miao Miao: Painting and Alchemy

2024.01.13 Saturday 14:00


706 N. 1st St.798 Art Zone, 2 Jiuxianqiao Rd., Chaoyang, Beijing

Speaker: Dongmen Yang & Miao Miao

Host:Yang Beichen

In the book "What Painting Is?” James Elkins departs from the traditional approach in art history, which studies painting through form and meaning. His focus shifts to the microscopic material components and generative processes of painting, likening painting to the ancient and mysterious practice of alchemy. The painter's manipulation of solid pigments and liquid mediums is analogous to the alchemist's cognition, stirring, processing, and refining of some "primordial substance." From the color harmony on the palette to the reactions of sulfur, mercury, and salt in the distillation flask, alchemy, in exploring the spiritual significance of art, appears as a sister discipline to painting. Pigments are laid by artists who are sensitive to them, allowing interpretations of these sensations within the artwork, not just imagination. Alchemy is reticent, adhering to the material, silently imbuing them with meaning rather than impulsively uttering what seems most precious. This dialogue will attempt to discuss the practical aspects of painting in reality and the speculative aspects of alchemy. Starting from this text, it will unfold from the perspectives of painters, curators, and art historians, examining the scientific understanding and mystical conjectures regarding painting throughout art history.


About the Speaker

Miao Miao is an artist who is concurrently involved in the research of painting materials. She holds a position at Colart Group, the world's largest art material supplier. She has offered long-term and short-term material courses, elective courses, lectures, and artist workshops in relevant majors at institutions such as the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Tsinghua University Academy of Fine Arts, Xi'an Academy of Fine Arts, Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, and other professional schools.

Dongmen Yang, graduated from Paris VII University, Associate Professor at the Central Academy of Fine Arts. Co-founder of DawanArt. His works include "Spices", "The Old Prince", "Three Stories of Painting" and translations such as "L’Âge d’Homme".


About the host

Dr. Yang Beichen is a researcher and a curator based in Beijing, China. He is the director of the  Macalline Center of Art, and one of the members of the Thought Council at the Fondazione Prada.

The Macalline Center of Art (MACA) is a non-profit art institution located in the 798 Art District of Beijing and officially inaugurated its space on January 15, 2022. Occupying a two-story building with a total area of 900 square meters, MACA unites artists, curators, and other art and cultural practitioners from around the world. Through its diverse, ongoing, and collaborative approaches, the Center establishes a new site on the contemporary art scene. Guided by the “work of artists” and backed by interdisciplinary research, the Center aims to bring together a community passionate about art and devoted to the “contemporary” moment so as to respond proactively to our rapidly evolving times.