Grant Recipients Grants to Artists Performance Art/Theater 2008

Wang Jianwei

A close up, side angled portrait of Jianwei Wang conferring with another person who is blurred along with the rest of the background. Wang has short black hair and wears a navy t-shirt and red glasses.
  • 2008 Grants to Artists
  • Performance Art/Theater
  • Born Sichuan Province, China, 1958
  • Lives in Beijing, China

With the FCA grant, I was able to carry on with my interdisciplinary project that followed my years long exploration into the theatre, video/cinema, and performance... I must say that the FCA grant is not only inspiring but also supportive of my career, and the show also provided me a great chance to show with a number of top artists around the world...

- Wang Jianwei, January 2009

Artist Statement

For more than ten years, I have been concerned with the influence of current intellectual discourse and different media on contemporary art. This curiosity has prompted me to use diverse media to create a new language for art. That is why in my work I utilize a wide range of media, including film/video, theatrical performance, and painting.

- December 2007

Biography

Wang Jianwei has been active in Chinese contemporary art since the 1970s. Wang's work is experimental in medium and form. He creates large video and installation works, often incorporate sculpture and performance. These works attempt to examine the relationship between art and social reality, often working from the notion that the production of artwork is a performance and a rehearsal. He aspires to integrate history, philosophy, literature, and modern criticism, as well as the dramas of daily life.

With the support of his 2008 FCA grant, Wang created the multimedia project Welcome to the Desert of the Real (2008). Funds from his Grants to Artists award were also directed to his installation Hostage (2008), shown at the Shanghai Zendai Museum of Modern Art in Shanghai. Hostage reconstructed the daily life on a Cultural Revolution-era commune, exploring concepts of utopia, influence, and representation through video, sculpture, and photography.

Before Wang received his 2008 Grants to Artists award, his work was shown in solo exhibitions at Hong Kong Arts Centre (1992), Walker Art Center (2002), and Chambers Fine Art in New York (2005). Additionally, his work has been shown in group exhibitions at venues across China as well as the Gwanju Biennale (1995), Documenta X (1997), Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Demark (1998), MoMA PS1 (1998), Queens Museum of Art (2001), the Sao Paulo Biennale (2002), Pompidou Centre (2003), Walker Art Center (2003), the Venice Biennale (2003), and Hebbel am Ufer in Berlin (2007).

Since receiving his 2008 FCA grant, Wang's work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Today Art Museum, Beijing (2009); Kaserne Basel, Switzerland (2010); Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2011); and Long March Space, Beijing (2013). Wang's work was also exhibited at the Sharjah Biennale (2013). His installation and performance at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Wang Jianwei: Time Temple (2014-2015), explored conceptions and experiences of time in a contemporary context.

Wang received a B.F.A. from Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts in Hangzhou, China in 1988, where he was trained as a painter.

A performance still of two figures standing besides wooden tables. One figure has his back turned to the audience while the other faces the audience but looks downward. Behind them, another performer sits with their knees by their chest within a wooden box. Behind the door of this box, another performer stands, their body is hidden by the door so only their feet and their head, cast in a downward gaze, is visible. Behind all of this, there is a large blue hued projection of numerous people laying on the floor beside a rack with animal meat hanging from it. Two people are standing up. One of them is dressed like a police officer and the other is dressed in street clothes and directs a spraying hose towards the people on the ground.
FCA-supported Welcome to the Desert of the Real, 2010.
A performance still of numerous figures situated around a dimly lit space. Within the space there are numerous standing mirrors the size of humans. A few performers stand beside the mirrors, touching them. The rest of the performers stand around the space in various street clothes with their side to the audience. A few performers appear mid-stride. In the middle, one performer stands out, wearing nothing but striped shorts and a mask of a purple create with a red bandana over their head. A performance still of numerous performers in various street clothes standing in a semi-circle around a person who appears to have fallen off their bike. This performer lays on their side and by their head, there is a white framed picture. To the side of them, many bronze colored, shiny wet snake like objects are scattered on the floor.
FCA-supported Welcome to the Desert of the Real, 2010.
A performance still of numerous performers in various street clothes standing in a semi-circle around a person who appears to have fallen off their bike. This performer lays on their side and by their head, there is a white framed picture. To the side of them, many bronze colored, shiny wet snake like objects are scattered on the floor.
FCA-supported Welcome to the Desert of the Real, 2010.
A performance still of people laying on the ground, in various street clothes besides a wooden frame with bits of raw meat hanging from it. Three performers are standing. One of them is front of the frame, and is dressed in a blue short sleeve button up shirt and a tie. Behind the wooden frame, a downtrodden looking performer wearing grey pants and a smudged white t-shirt leans on the wooden frame. A third performer stands facing the frame, wearing street clothes and a plastic bag wrapped around his left sneaker.
FCA-supported Welcome to the Desert of the Real, 2010.
A performance stA performance still of several performers in a room with red brick walls and various cots against the walls. The performers wear street cloths and stand in various positions suggesting interrupted action. Two performers weild wooden rods while others extend their arms out in front of them. All of the performers look resolutely ahead. ill of a room composed of red brick walls which are falling apart. The space is scattered with debris and performers crouch under furniture as a cloud of dust and debris falls from the ceiling.
FCA-supported Hostage, 2008.
A performance still of several performers in a room with red brick walls and various cots against the walls. The performers wear street cloths and stand in various positions suggesting interrupted action. Two performers weild wooden rods while others extend their arms out in front of them. All of the performers look resolutely ahead.
FCA-supported Hostage, 2008.
A performance still of three performers looking directly ahead in an otherwise bare spare. The performer on the left wears a blue jacket, blue pants, and carries a thin metal rod twisted into a circle at the top. The performer in the middle wears a white bonnet, red gingham shirt and holds a bundle of wheat. The performer all the way to the right wears a military uniform and holds a gun.
FCA-supported Hostage, 2008.
An installation image of a large mechanical object with various pipes and wires that are colored red, blue, and grey. A globular, organically curved white object rests on top of this.
Installation view of FCA-supported Hostage, 2008.
An installation image of a white cylindrical object in the center of a room. An abstract shape is cut out of the object, revealing a blue lit interior filled with purple pipes. The outside of the object is adorned with lightbulbs, an oval window pane, and an organically shaped, textured area made of the same white material. In the foreground, there is a red curtain and a red and blue pipe.
Installation view of FCA-supported Hostage, 2008.