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b. 1958, China

Wang Jianwei Biography

Born 1958 in Sichuan Province, China, Wang Jianwei has been a pioneer in the Chinese contemporary art scene since the 70s. Academically trained as a painter, he dedicated much of his school years at China Academy of Art, Hangzhou, reading about existen¬tialist philosophy and Chinese history. This led him to years of experimentation in con¬veying complex ideas with painting before shifting his focus to multimedia installation. ‘Connection’ and ‘relationship’ have been the key phrases in Wang’s vocabulary. His work could be interpreted as an attempt to discover and expose the connection between beings, matters and concepts that may seem random on the surface. What he aspires to achieve is a kind of integration of knowledge in many fields that gives rise to his distinc¬tive approach as an artist. Although he is known for his video work, in order to convey these complex networks of ideas, he is widely experimental with his mediums, and the ways in which the work exists.

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Wang has been fascinated by the given function of a space since ‘Production’ (1997), one of Wang’s earliest forays into video making. It documents the social interaction tak¬ing place in selected public spaces in varied locations around Sichuan province, inves¬tigating the personal spaces derived from the conversations within a public realm like a tea house. In ‘Spider 1’ (2004) and ‘Spider 2’ (2005) ordinary spaces such as real-life office and domestic living room were superimposed with fictional performances. The two works revolve around the idea of creating a third space within a space, somewhere between ‘physical’ and ‘psychological’ where the subconscious realm of imagination can be made manifest and explored. ‘Spider 1 and 2’ may appear like documentations of live performances. The production process bore similarity to film-making -- the performance was recorded from multiple angles, which he then edited into a video. This resistance towards any one method for conveying the entirety of relationships and ideas is an on¬going component of Wang Jianwei‘s visual language.

One of his most well acclaimed works to date is ‘Hostage’ (2008), an intense thirty-two minute, high definition work that reconstructs the daily life on a Cultural Revolution-era commune. The ambitious project was a laboratory of concepts and associations, where the ideas of history, utopia, symbol and influence were cross-examined across diverse mediums including video, photography and sculptural installation. “I thought the work was about human, body and the long process of being endued with knowledge.” Wang wanted to “evoke a kind of memory that is purely my own through these works instead of being held hostage of an outside experience.” This dialectic relationship between what is inside and what is outside, is continued in Wang Jianwei’s most recent project, ‘Output of the Labor Force on Timeline’. Inspired by a true story of a 16 year-old teen¬ager who followed his parents’ job relocating from the village to the city, this five chan¬nel video installation explores the possibility of building a ‘live scene’ out of five disperse but simultaneous stories. Connections derive between the protagonist and other char¬acters, questioning the boundaries between the imagined, the real and the fictional.

Wang Jianwei has shown extensively both within China and internationally. Over the years his work has been exhibited in leading international art events such as (Documen¬ta, Venice Biennale, Gwangju Biennale and Sao Paulo Biennale). He also participated in critically acclaimed group exhibition such as; ‘Cities on the Move’, ‘China Now’ at the Museum of Modern Art, New York City, and ‘China Power Station (Part 3)’. Solo exhibitions of the artist have been held at various renowned institutions including Walker Art Centre, USA, Today Art Center, Beijing, Zendai Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai, and Asia-Australia Arts Center, Sydney.

Wang Jianwei In Ocula Magazine

Wang Jianwei In Related Press

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M+ Screenings: City Limits at Broadway Cinematheque, Hong Kong Related Press M+ Screenings: City Limits at Broadway Cinematheque, Hong Kong 2 August 2017, Art Radar

Featuring 15 videos and films, M+ Screenings: City Limits will be held at Broadway Cinematheque in Yau Ma Tei, Hong Kong, from 4 to 6 August 2017. The programme is organised in conjunction with the

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Discussion on video art research in the context of globalisation: 'Time Test' is unveiled Related Press Discussion on video art research in the context of globalisation: 'Time Test' is unveiled 12 July 2016, CAFA ART INFO

At 2:30 pm on July 2, 2016, Time Test – International Video Art Research Exhibition was unveiled at CAFA Art Museum. The exhibition is jointly hosted by Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University East Lansing, Michigan, U.S.A. and CAFA Art Museum. In the axis of the development course of the video art, the project presents...

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'Digging a Hole in China': exploring Land Art in the context of Chinese contemporary art Related Press 'Digging a Hole in China': exploring Land Art in the context of Chinese contemporary art 21 April 2016, Art Radar

Land is the subject of a large-scale show at OCAT Shenzhen entitled Digging a Hole in China  (20 March – 26 June 2016) which features a variety of media and works by over a dozen contemporary Chinese artists executed from 1994 onwards. In this inaugural show at OCAT Shenzhen, since her appointment as Artistic Director in August 2015...

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“Digging a Hole in China”: exploring Land Art in the context of Chinese contemporary art Related Press “Digging a Hole in China”: exploring Land Art in the context of Chinese contemporary art 18 April 2016, Art Radar

Land is the subject of a large-scale show at OCAT Shenzhen entitled Digging a Hole in China (20 March–26 June 2016) which features a variety of media and works by over a dozen contemporary Chinese

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