Since the early 1990s, Wang Xingwei (b. 1969, Shenyang; lives and works in Beijing) has pioneered a painterly vision that links Chinese contemporary art intelligently to its Western referents, socialist realist precedents, and immediate cultural context through a universe of recurring characters rendered in seemingly infinite subtle variations of style and composition. Wang is reflexive about the visual language he has inherited, but relentlessly inventive in its deployment. An artist known for his quirky sensibility and sharp wit, Wang freely appropriates style and content from different traditions, employing them in highly creative and dramatic scenarios.
Comprising 74 works, the exhibition features a maze-like, non-chronological layout in which the space is subdivided into three major sections based on the relationship of the painter or viewer to the figure depicted: rear views, profiles, and frontal views. This logic paradoxically also serves to group the works thematically and serially. Most of the works on view have been borrowed back from private collections in Europe and throughout China, and have never before been seen together.
“Wang Xingwei” represents the culmination of a long collaboration between UCCA and the artist. One of the original artists to enter the collection of the Fondation Guy & Myriam Ullens, Wang worked last year on the final episode in UCCA's “Curated By…” series, producing an exhibition of seven young painters whose work explored similar themes to his own. Wang also has a painting on view in the concurrent exhibition “DUCHAMP and/or/in CHINA,” which positions one of Wang's artistic heroes in relation to the Chinese scene.
In bringing together Wang's key achievements of the first two decades of his career, this exhibition will contribute significantly to the reassessment and elevation of a key figure in contemporary Chinese art, who through the complexity of his vision proves the depth and richness of the tradition to which he belongs.
Major support for this exhibition comes from — Qiao Zhibing and Galerie Urs Meile, with additional support from the Fondation Guy
& Myriam Ullens
Further support comes from the — UCCA Patrons Council
provided support in kind for the exhibition opening by — Duvel Moortgat
The exhibition is possible only with the generosity of numerous lenders to the exhibition — including Bo Jiguang, Johnson Tsong-Zung Chang, Erlenmeyer Foundation, Guan Yi Contemporary Art Archive, Gu Zhenqing, He Jing Yuan Art Museum, He Juxing, Huang Liaoyuan, M+ Sigg Collection, Urs Meile, Meng Xianghua, Modern Chinese Art Foundation, Peng Pei-Cheng, Qin Qi, Ellen & Michael Ringier, Andrew Ruff, Manuel Salvisberg, Uli Sigg, Taikang Life Insurance Co., Ltd., Tang Contemporary Art Center, Tian Jun, Tian Kai, Yao Chien, Zhang Rui, and Zong Feng.