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"Wang Shugang: Apartment Block Life"
2003-03-30 until 2003-05-05
Wang Shugang: Apartment Block Life features new sculpture installations created specifically for the artist's first solo exhibition at the Courtyard. Wang recently returned to Beijing after spending ten years abroad and continues to work in both China and Germany. Wang's latest sculptures in 'Apartment Block Life' are more pointed and less abstract than previous works. They reflect Wang's role as a witness to the new Chinese society taking shape around him. For this exhibition, and for the first time, he employs three contrasting mediums to reflect the varied character of contemporary life; birdcages, neon, and sculptural models. These new works still retain the resonant power of his previous sculptures by inscribing latent energy into spare, striking forms.
The phrase 'apartment blocks' refers to the vast labyrinth of numbered doorways in Chinese housing complexes represented here by bamboo cages. Each cage stands akin to the iron grilles adorning the exterior of Chinese apartment windows. This installation is flanked by two life-size rows of neon that run the entire length of the Courtyard walls. On one side, white-collar-type figures stand in applause and on the other side, a line of workers squat one behind another.
Wang considers his choice of neon as a satire of the 'beautification' process that city planners impose on Chinese cities. They light up the facades of shopping thoroughfares, expressways, and billboards to create the illusion of prosperity. The theme of this exhibition is really an interior cityscape that encompasses not only the urban terrain of contemporary life, but also the psychological spaces and forms of power that citizens must navigate in performing everyday tasks.
Wang has worked in a number of sculptural mediums including bronze, fiberglass, and wood, and has completed several public sculptures. His works have been exhibited extensively in China and overseas.