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© Courtesy of the artist & Tang Contemporary Art Beijing

Gate No.2, 798 factory, Jiuxianqiao Road
Chaoyang Dst
December 17th, 2011 - February 25th, 2012

Tue-Sun 11-5:30 (Nov-Apr) 11-6:30 (May-Oct)


 Born in Daqing, Heilongjiang province in 1966, Wang Qingsong graduated from the

Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts in 1993. In his early career, he initially produced oil

paintings in the Yuanmingyuan studios, and gradually expanded his artistic field towards

sculpture, installation, photography, video and etc. His photographs take on a personal

observation of urban culture and the absurd phenomenon of society. Through various

symbols and utilizing his own image being cleverly appropriated on a seemingly absurd

persona, the artist is, in fact, attempting to question the uncertain outlooks of the

world – a reflection of his humorous yet critical attitude on the rapid transformation in

Chinese society.

 Well-known for the photographic pursuits, Wang Qingsong's early works, an

aesthetic approach in the form of gaudy art, there were a combination of both rural and

urban subjects’ hobbies and interests, exemplified in works such as "Can I cooperate

with you? ", " Banquet of Laoli " and "big bath", all produced in 2000. The imageries,

exuberant with shades of red and green, were piled with trademark logos and the

characters, seemingly, assumed a larger-than-life exaggeration, yet at the same time,

the mockery portrayed an earnestness that was rather synonymous to the desires of

consumerism in Chinese cities, whether in major or even in small cities.

 These underlying themes, from the artist's extensive experiences and personal

reflections, emphasize the rise of new multi-material wealth dreams driven by the

growing Chinese public. In these works, he has had successfully evoked black humour on

this expansion of cultural rupture, further accentuating on the lack of idealism in

consumer society. In his photographic works, created in the past fifteen years, Wang

Qingsong has considered wisely on the senses in the popular images narrative and has

awakened public awareness for his generation, which are those born after 1960s. There is

the interpretation to the fracture fragments of traditional culture, and thoughts of

nostalgia to peasants and soldiers, cultural symbols of the Mao era, as well as the

irony toward consumption, socio-political and humanity.
 Wang Qingsong works much like a film director. With regards to his observation

of various societies, he choreographed a variety of dramatic situations with a huge cast

– usually the public as models and actors/actresses - to be involved in the creation of

his works. With some theatrics that border on exaggeration, the result tend to appear to

be deliberately clumsy, instead, evoke a sardonic sense of humour.

 In this exhibition, he has visualized an extensive setting, almost akin to an

irrational yet carnivalesque backdrop. Almost a nostalgic fantasy of time and

impression, selected everyday objects are hanged floatingly, together with a great deal

of air balloons; and a mixture of Chinese and Western festive wares to create a blurred

collective atmosphere of jubilance. However, in the small space at the back of the

gallery, there is a threatening-looking web, made of wire steel, spread across the

space. A ‘home’ fittingly for a greedy spider, the spiked web is laid with random worn

and tattered products, capturing the daily consumption of remaining wastes.

 With these two contrasting ambiences, the artist invokes a complex emotion,

especially on the significance of ideal and reality, on hope and disappointment and of

the impermanence with the sense of loss. It is the illusion of materialism and well-

being of nothingness bursting in front of the wire similar to shiny soap bubbles.

 On the second floor, two photographs, "home" and "goddess", also portray strong

feelings of disillusionment, both for the individual pursuit of basic materials (such as

a stable home) or about the country's political and religious ideals of conception. They

were teasers of black yet cruel humours – shaped in piles of discarded like mountain

 From a Happy New Year's party setting, then ended with a conflicting dramedy,

Wang Qingsong invites us to ponder and reflect on the essence of our simple happiness.  

Like Moliere's absurd comedy, what could obstruct us from talking about reality and