UCCA Beijing

Miguel Ángel Payano Jr.: Woo-Woo

2024.5.18 - 2024.9.8

Miguel Ángel Payano Jr., Twinkle, Twinkle, 2023, mixed media on canvas, 150 x 162 x 12 cm. Courtesy the artist.


Location:  Central Gallery

Miguel Ángel Payano Jr. has developed a unique artistic language around what he calls “heavy collages,” where sculptural elements and readymade objects populate and protrude from canvases that deftly portray individuals and landscapes. He consciously challenges cultural preconceptions, a knack that stems from his unique identity as a Dominican-American New Yorker, who built an artistic career over nearly two decades studying, working, and living in Beijing. In recent years he has expanded his material lexicon and refined his painterly technique, in works rife with linguistic cues, social commentary, and visual slippages. His vibrant yet tightly controlled images burst with meaning, gesturing in different directions while stopping short of literal reference or allegory. This exhibition, Payano’s first institutional solo show, presents a major selection of new works created since he began working between Beijing and New York during the pandemic, alongside older works that chart the development and emergence of his singular vision and talent. The exhibition is curated by UCCA Director Philip Tinari.


About the Artist

Miguel Ángel Payano Jr. (b. 1980, New York, lives and works in Beijing) is an Afro-Caribbean visual artist. After completing his dual B.A. degree at Williams College in Chinese Language and Studio Art in Williamstown, Massachusetts (2003), Payano moved to Beijing, where he completed his M.F.A. in Oil Painting at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (2008). He also obtained an M.F.A. degree in Studio Art from Hunter College, The City University of New York (2020). Having had the experience of navigating between different languages and cultures, Payano became increasingly attuned to the importance of language and its application in our understanding of and relation to one another. Though his works are mainly paintings in his earlier career, the artist has expanded his practice in recent years to embrace sculptural and quasi-sculptural forms with his distinctive peach-mouths joined with other images, textures, and found or assembled objects that form strange human-like portraits that fuse painting and sculpture. His previous solo exhibitions include “Out From” (Charles Moffett, New York, USA, 2023); “Sojourn Summits” (Galleria Poggiali, Milan, Italy, 2022); and “Elusive Nature” (Make Room, Los Angeles, USA, 2021). He has also participated in group shows such as “This Basic Asymmetry” (Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara, California, USA, 2022) and “Ad-Diriyah Biennale: Feeling the Stones” (Saudi Arabia, 2021).