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Wang GongXin: My Sun

  • Location:
    Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue, New York, New York, New York, 10021, US

Wang GongXin (born 1960, China) is credited as one of the first artists to have created a site-specific video installation in China in the mid-1990s. His video works typically deal with social and cultural clichés and misconceptions, often with a hint of humor. This exhibition features My Sun, his panoramic three channel video installation created in 2000, in which the artist explores the rise of individualism in modern Chinese society.
The video features an elderly peasant woman who first appears in the middle of a barren landscape. As she struggles to cultivate the field, a shining light emerges from the horizon. As she looks toward the light, her image multiplies to cover the landscape. The light gradually diminishes and eventually extinguishes itself in the palms of her hands. The image of the rising sun is a direct reference to Mao Zedong and was frequently used in Communist propaganda materials. The rural imagery evokes the memory of the Cultural Revolution (1966-76), when spending time laboring in the countryside with peasants was required of all educated Chinese youths in the late 1960s.
Although this video is visually beautiful, it is filled with an atmosphere of melancholy. Wang GongXin often speaks with concern about the memory of China’s turbulent past fading from the minds of its younger generation. My Sun reflects on China’s recent history, exploring a time when Maoism and Communism offered hope to the Chinese people and questioning the changes brought about by the Communist regime.