Wang Gongxin

Wang Gongxin, ‘Basic Colour’ (2010)

MAAP’s current exhibition in Brisbane continues a focused series of leading media artists. Wang Gongxin has a significant place in contemporary Chinese art history. As a senior first generation video artist in China, Wang has produced an accomplished body of work over the past twenty years and has had great influence on a younger generation of artists within China. Trained as a painter, Wang Gongxin moved into video and photography after an extended time living in New York during the late 80’s and returning to live in Beijing in 1994. Working across media, Wang explores single channel video incorporated into sculptural objects and installation, performative and multi channel immersive moving image installations.  A hallmark of the artist’s practice is his rigorous deliberation of imagery with great attention to the technical execution and presentation.

In this exhibition two related works are presented – Basic Colour, 2010 and Tonight Maybe Have Wind, 2006. Both works employ a form of landscape and explore an extraordinary aesthetic experience of time within the medium of video. Natural phenomena like wind, rain, and falling snow or dust are appropriated catalysts driving change within the works. Time, as a crucial attribute of the video medium, is expressed and experienced with two quite distinct approaches. In Tonight Maybe Have Wind, we see a manipulation of time through editing that stimulates thoughts about linear time, natural time, electronic time, and our perceptions of it. The image moves one hundred times slower than normal for ten seconds and is then sped up two hundred times faster for one second.

Basic Colour 2010, is a five channel video installation projected onto a continuous wall. The five projections are orientated vertically; within each vignette, a tightly framed section of the body is apprehended and set against a neutral flat empty space. The undulating curves and creases of the body imply a landscape that is abstracted further by the gradual sprinkling of coloured pigments of black, blue, red, yellow and white. The slow accumulation of coloured pigment on each image is a kind of performance-based painting that is both suspended and propelled through the treatment of time and the looping of the video.