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.

Read More

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 Featured Artworks

View All (13)
Emergent No.16 by Wang Jianwei contemporary artwork painting
Wang Jianwei Emergent No.16, 2022 Oil on canvas
188 x 250 cm
Tang Contemporary Art Enquire
Emergent No.13 by Wang Jianwei contemporary artwork painting
Wang Jianwei Emergent No.13, 2021 Oil on canvas
130 x 160 cm
Tang Contemporary Art Enquire
Emergent No.12 by Wang Jianwei contemporary artwork painting
Wang Jianwei Emergent No.12, 2022 Oil on canvas
150 x 115 cm
Tang Contemporary Art Enquire
Emergent No.11 by Wang Jianwei contemporary artwork painting
Wang Jianwei Emergent No.11, 2022 Oil on canvas
200 x 150 cm
Tang Contemporary Art Enquire
Emergent No.9 by Wang Jianwei contemporary artwork painting
Wang Jianwei Emergent No.9, 2022 Oil on canvas
250 x 187 cm
Tang Contemporary Art Enquire
Always being, but not the whole No.18 by Wang Jianwei contemporary artwork painting
Wang Jianwei Always being, but not the whole No.18, 2021 Oil on canvas
250 x 187 cm
Tang Contemporary Art Enquire
Dense No.9 by Wang Jianwei contemporary artwork painting
Wang Jianwei Dense No.9, 2020 Oil on canvas
174.5 x 250 cm
Tang Contemporary Art Enquire
Always being, but not the whole No.33 by Wang Jianwei contemporary artwork sculpture
Wang Jianwei Always being, but not the whole No.33, 2022 Wood, spray paint, and stainless steel
Tang Contemporary Art Enquire

Wang Jianwei Current & Recent Exhibitions

Wang Jianwei In Ocula Magazine

Follow Wang Jianwei
Stay ahead.
Receive updates on new artworks,
exhibitions and articles.
Your personal data is held in accordance with our privacy policy.
Follow
Do you have an Ocula account?
Get Access
Join Ocula to request price and availability of artworks, exhibition checklists and build a collection of favourite artists, galleries and artworks.
Subscribe me to the Ocula newsletter.
I agree to Ocula's Terms & Conditions.
Your personal data is held in accordance with our Privacy Policy.
Do you have an Ocula account? Login
Thank you for joining us. Just one more thing...
Soon you will receive an email asking you to complete registration. If you do not receive it then you can check and edit the email address you entered.
Close
Thank you for joining us.
You can now request price and availability of artworks, exhibition checklists and build a collection of favourite artists, galleries and artworks.
Close
Welcome back to Ocula
Enter your email address and password below to login.
Login
Don't have an account? Sign Up
I forgot my password
Reset Password
Enter your email address to receive a password reset link.
Reset Link Sent
We have sent you an email containing a link to reset your password. Simply click the link and enter your new password to complete this process.
Login