Published by Skira. By Huang Zhuan. Text by Demetrio Paparoni, Marko Daniel.
Wang Guangyi’s art is significant not only in China but across the world: this book investigates his artistic path from a new perspective. For any reader interested in understanding contemporary Chinese culture and art, this book provides a unique viewpoint: it approaches the story of a Chinese contemporary artist from the perspective of the history of ideas and art rather than that of news and politics. It adopts methods and approaches easily understandable by Western readers in order to draw them closer to the enigma that Chinese contemporary culture represents.
Huang Zhuan (Wuhan, 1958) is currently a professor at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts where he also serves as executive director of the OCT Contemporary Art Terminal. Since the early 1980s his essays, which have recently been collected in the book Ideas and Action in the Art World (Beijing University Press, 2010), have had a strong impact on the Chinese artistic scene.
The first monograph conceived for the international market devoted to one of the most important Chinese contemporary artists. Known throughout the world, above all for his cycle Great Criticism, in which he juxtaposes images of Chinese propaganda with the most famous Western brands, and later for his installations on the theme of the Cold War, Wang Guangyi is considered one of the emblems of new China because his work underlines, through new language forms, the deep social changes the country is experiencing. This monograph includes more than 400 color images, an essay by the curator, and an anthology of the most important writings by and on the artist, revealing for the first time the entire œuvre of Wang Guangyi, whose works are in the collections of the most important museums and foundations in the world.
Demetrio Paparoni, critic and curator, has edited numerous monographs and contributed to catalogs of artists such as Anish Kapoor, Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Roy Lichtenstein, and Edward Hopper.
Born in Harbin in 1957, Wang Guangyi is at the forefront of the group of young artists that emerged in China after 1989. This volume compiles his iconic paintings from the Great Criticism series, which use propaganda from the Cultural Revolution and contemporary pop and corporate icons. Wang's Social Realist-style figures are over-painted with the names of famous Western artists like Beuys and Warhol, with product names like Porsche, or, simply, with loaded words like "materialist." This clash of propaganda and American Pop kitsch sets up an ironic examination of contemporary globalization. Putting Wang's works into the context of the Cultural Revolution, critic David Spalding writes, "Certainly, the vast legacy of propaganda that resulted from this period will continue to impact artists interested in critically examining China's recent visual history. After all, these images were more than simply popular; for a time, they were the only ones allowed."
Published by Blue Kingfisher. Essays by Karen Smith and Yan Shanchen. Interview by Charles Merewether.
The yardstick by which we evaluate our culture should be based on our own experience. And what could be a richer cultural resource from which to derive meaning than the socialist visual experience.... --Wang Guangyi
This retrospective look at the 17-year oeuvre of one of the giants of Chinese contemporary art forms a rich tapestry of imagery, ideas, and ideology. From the mid-80s onward, Wang Guangyi has stood as a primary role model for his fellow artists, beginning with his parodies of masterpieces from the history of Western art, including Leonardo da Vinci's Virgin and Child with St. Anne and Jacques-Louis David's Marat. His large-scale Mao paintings mocked propaganda imagery, and from there he moved on to Great Criticism, his internationally recognizable Pop reworking of cultural revolution sloganism.