Born 1957 in Harbin, Heilongjiang Province, China
Lives and works in Beijing, China
The vast legacy of propaganda that resulted from Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution has greatly impacted on Wang Guangyi and other contemporary Chinese artists interested in critically examining China’s recent visual history. Political Pop, as the movement is loosely known, appropriates the visual tropes of propaganda from the Cultural Revolution, reworking them in the flat, colourful style associated with American Pop of the same era. The ideological antagonism that exists between China’s traditional socialist ideology and the materialistic mentality of western society seen as invading and changing is powerfully exposed in Wang Guangyi’s Great Criticism series. These large scale canvases combine famous western brand names with the idealized figures of Mao’s workers and farmers, which the artist covers with hundreds of little numbers in repetitive sequences reminiscent of barcodes or serial numbers – a reference to the standardization and numeric symbols of the codifying systems of consumerism. This playful appropriation of images from propaganda and advertising reveals the tension between China’s ideological past and commercial present. As such, Wang Guangyi’s work serves as both a celebration and a critique of the economic, social and cultural developments of China in recent years.
Wang Guangyi studied oil painting at the Zheijiang Academy of Fine Arts and today lives and works in Beijing. His latest solo exhibitions were presented at He Xiangning Art Museum, Guangdong (2008), at the Institute of Louisse Blouin Foundation, London UK (2008), at Face of Faith, Soobin Art Int’L Singapore (2001). Recent group exhibitions include in “ShanghART Group Show” (2010), ShanghART Beijing, “The Constructed Dimension” (2010), Chinese Contemporary Art Invitational Exhibition, National Art Musume of China.