artist / participant
Long Museum West Bund
Zhan Wang: Forms in Flux
Curator: Fumio Nanjo
Duration: June 25, 2017 - August 22, 2017
Long Museum (West Bund) will host the exhibition, “Zhan Wang: Forms in Flux”. This will be the largest solo exhibition of Zhan Wang’s artistic career to date, as well as the artist’s first solo exhibition in Shanghai. Other than presenting the artist’s most representative works over the last twenty years, a number of newly completed works will also be on view. For the exhibition, the Long Museum (West Bund) has transformed its galleries into cavernous spaces tailored to best showcase Zhan Wang’s “site in flux” and “cycles of forms”. This exhibition invites the internationally renowned curator and the director of the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, Mr. Fumio Nanjo as its curator.
The curator states, “Zhan Wang’s solo exhibition presented at the Long Museum will chronicle the artist’s prolific artistic experiments from the earlier period to the present. In addition, this structurally compact exhibition emphasizes on presenting Zhan Wang’s notional transformations through works of art. What does sculpture-making imply, what is its conception, notion and methodology for composition – these are the questions that the artist inquiries and will thus be revealed in this exhibition. Zhan Wang’s artworks appropriate elements from Chinese traditional cultural elements, innovative craftsmanship and techniques, as well as addressing the various issues evolving around dialogues between contemporary life and space. These provide us with the important clues in thinking about contemporary art. The shifts in one’s artistic conceptions do not refer to one’s arbitrary ideas or a set of uncertainties, but follows a logical evolution of ideas. In this process, Zhan Wang has maintained a consistency that is uniquely his, which ultimately serve as an analogy for the cycle of life.”
Looking into “Forms in Flux”, starting with “Mao Suits” series in the 1990s, “New Art Quick Training Workshop” and the acclaimed “Artificial Rocks”, Zhan Wang simulated the forms in his surrounding environment; in fact, his sculptures are also shaped by simulating the force of nature from craftsmanship. After 2000, he was drawn to the reflection of the human figure and began to research the infinite effects and transformations caused by various changes in conditions including light and movement. This led to the making of works such as the “morph” and “Metamorph” series. The notions of fluidity and infinity often recur and are interpreted in his works; a critical turning point took place in 2011 with the solo exhibition “My Personal Universe”, in which the Zhan Wang employed dynamite in the course of production allowing the artist to successfully recreate the original moment of the big bang, that the world subsequently came into being. This work was developed from the “stone generator” produced in the previous year, that adopts mechanical modes of representation of the natural world. The new works that will be unveiled at the Long Museum (West Bund) has been brewing in Zhan Wang’s imaginations of forms over the years, its conception is developed from the two-dimensional mirror image to the three-dimensional in “morph” and “Metamorph”, and by appropriating his collaboration with the scientists and the methods of Computational Fluid Dynamics and 3D output, gave its final presentation. Unlike engaging in physical experiments in the past, the artist has projected a form into a virtual environment, allowing it to integrate, transform, auto-generate and co-exists between the virtual and reality. It is a conversion of energy and material, a world in which concrete forms and transformations are equally possible. As the artist’s hands-on component diminishes, creativity opens up to infinite possibilities.
About the Artist
Zhan Wang (b. in 1962 in Beijing, China) graduated in 1996 from the sculpture department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) and currently lives and works in Beijing where he teaches sculpture at CAFA. Zhan Wang is considered as one of the most important contemporary artists in China whose artistic practice employs mediums such as, sculpture, installation, performance, photography and video. Zhan Wang’s practice is firmly rooted in the culture by which he has been surrounded with over the course of his life and traditional Chinese notions. Whilst the artist attempts to interpret the features of traditional culture from an individual perspective and by means of a distinctive creativity deduce a new and poetically transpose the effects of history, traditions, the spirit and the natural world onto the human situation and perceptions. Zhan Wang’s new works emphasize the shaping and transformations of forms in his personal surroundings, and the mutually-immersive relationship of the two, whereby to outline a future prospect of material and spirit in flux.
About the Curator
Fumio Nanjo (b. 1949 in Tokyo) has been Director of Mori Art Museum since November 2006. Prior to taking the directorship at the Mori, he had served as the Museum’s Deputy Director (2002-2006) after working with cultural organizations including the Japan Foundation (1978-1986).
His main achievements include: the Commissioner of the Japan Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (1997); the Commissioner at the Taipei Biennale (1998); a member of Jury Committee of the Turner Prize (1998); the Artistic Director of the Yokohama Triennale 2001; and the Artistic Director of the Singapore Biennale (2006/2008); the General Director of Kenpoku Art 2016 (Ibaraki Pref., Japan); and Curatorial Director of Honolulu Biennial (2017). He graduated from Keio University in the faculty of Economics (1972) and Letters (Aesthetics/Art History; 1977). Publications include Asian Contemporary Art Report: China, India, Middle East and Japan (2010) and A Life with Art (2012).