Looking For a Place, For Yourself, and For All The Others
Source:Wang Jianwei Author:Hou Hanru Date: 2008-06-18 Size:
Wang Jian Wei, a multimedia artist based in Beijing, has been a close collaborator with Chang Yung Ho. Their intensive dialogues on artistic, architectural and social questions have been a fundamentally important source of inspiration for his art projects. Since the beginning of the 1990s, Wang Jian

Wang Jian Wei, a multimedia artist based in Beijing, has been a close collaborator with Chang Yung Ho. Their intensive dialogues on artistic, architectural and social questions have been a fundamentally important source of inspiration for his art projects. Since the beginning of the 1990s, Wang Jian Wei has been creating conceptual installation/performance projects to embody and test his theoretical research and remodeling of social communication and circulation systems. In total solitude, he rented land from a village in his native Sichuan province and planted a new form of wheat. This project, named Planting/Re-circulating, is at once a physical and metaphoric test of his presumption of social renovation. On the other hand, in video works like Living Elsewhere, he has also been actively intervening in social reality by documenting everyday changes in urban population and communities. This 《everyday》 aspect has often been intensely ignored and omitted by the mainstream media. However, addressing problems of migration from rural areas to the city, unemployment, poverty, cultural, economic and social division, etc, evokes the most dramatic and urgent crisis in the urbanization process. At the same time, Wang Jian Wei has never limited his horizon to direct social observation and criticism. He intends to bring our understanding of social crisis into a much more profound levelground: the question of perception. lncorporating both digital video and spatial installation, he creates devices that act on our different senses of vision, sound and movement so as to involve the audience in a total environment in which they are encouraged to challenge the conventional, often officially imposed through education and propaganda, forms of perception and of the acquisition of knowledge. His installation Pingfeng (windscreen), with its different versions, is a convincing example. Showing different moments and aspects of social changes in a complex system of video projection and organization of space, it reveals the fragility of the established perception modes while pinpointing crucial social problems. This work, once adapted into a stage performance, has been abundantly developed into a theatrical multimedia poetry. However, in the end, Wang Jian Wei's work always winds up in total openness by leaving the 《conclusion》open to the interpretation of the audience. Each person can decide, or not, the real meaning of his 《objective》and poetic testimony of social events.

After working as a painter, in 1995 Wang Jian Wei chose video, the most appropriate medium for his more experimental, and sociologically oriented, artistic process. In the face of a normalization brought about by a form of "capitalist socialism", the artist questions the daily life of all in public and private spaces, their perceptions of the environment, their ways of communicating, and their affirmation of an identity.

[Editor] Zhang Shuo

    Artintern