Wang Enjoys Popularity Among China’s Emerging New Art Collector
Running through November 27, Beijing’s Today Art Museum — the first private, non-profit international contemporary art museum in China — celebrates its 10th anniversary with a large-scale retrospective of the work of blue-chip Chinese artist Wang Guangyi. Featuring early works from the 1980s and ’90s, previously unseen videos, photographs and documents, and an exhibition-specific installation piece, “‘Thing-in-Itself’: Utopia, Pop and Personal Theology” was supervised by Zhang Zikang and curated by Huang Zhuan.
The idea of the “thing-in-itself” is a core concept in Kantian philosophy, as well as a central theme in the history of modern thought. Thing-in-itself is the source and foundation of phenomena and sensory material, but are also unknowable things that lie beyond human cognition, imbued with a priori spatiotemporal form and universal, absolute metaphysical properties. Dialectically, it is a category that is distinguished from the “thing-for-us,” and in contemporary art history, this category has manifested as a series of multiple and paradoxical relationships between things and words, materials and ideas, reason and belief.
Wang Guangyi has been one of the most representative artists in Chinese modernist art history since the 1980s. His artistic path embodies the complex paradoxical logic of Chinese contemporary art’s progression from its era of enlightenment to avant-gardism, postmodernism and consumerism, but for a long time, critique and research of him has been misconstrued and limited by cold war critical discourse and the commercial capitalist interpretation that is “political pop.” There is a need for an individual case study that takes the history of Chinese thought and visual culture into account.
Sponsored by Today Art Museum partners Mercedes-Benz and Martell, the research-heavy exhibition launched this week with an academic exchange attended by museum directors, curators and researchers. Over the course of its six-week run, the exhibition will also be accompanied by an international symposium on the history of contemporary art hosted by influential art historian Wu Hong, as well as a lecture on “Wang Guangyi’s View of Art” held at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA).
Following its completion at the end of next month, the exhibition is then slated to tour Europe, America and Asia.
Wang Guangyi – “‘Thing-in-Itself’: Utopia, Pop and Personal Theology” (Through November 27, 2012)
Today Art Museum
Building 4, Pingod Community
No.32 Baiziwan Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Tel: 8610 5876 9690