Anna McNay

Review of Xiyao Wang: A Carnival in the Forest at MASSIMODECARLO, London



Xiyao Wang: A Carnival in the Forest

9 February – 11 March 2023

Having been buzzed in to an imposing Georgian townhouse in the heart of Mayfair, London, and ascended an ornate staircase to a magnificent door, I find myself entering a light-filled room, with full-length french windows to the balcony opposite me; an enormous mirror, reaching up to the firmament, on my immediate right; an opulent chandelier; creaking floorboards and an archway to the adjoining room, which has an open fireplace and mantelpiece. The spearmint-coloured walls provide a soft backdrop for a near-wall-sized triptych, hung so closely that the joins are seamless and the swirls and strokes, painted from a rainbow palette, cascade from one canvas to the next, creating the illusion of a fresco. More than that, even, because the mirrors and glass reflect this riot of colour, and my presence in among it, so that I feel I am standing in the eye of the cyclone. I am winded, hit hard by the energy and vim of the kaleidoscopic eddies. Looking at the reflections, I only ever see one part of the paintings at a time; they are fractured as they are refracted.


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