The Ephemeral Artist: Lao Wang
The Ephemeral Artist: Lao Wang
Medium: Art Exhibition as an Event/Durational Performance
In 2022, I received an invitation to curate a "viral exhibition" for an art center. The timeframe was extremely tight, making it impossible to have an open call, and among the artists I knew, none could produce enough artworks to fill a 2000-square-meter space. At that time, the trend of exhibitions designed for ticket sales and social media check-ins had become a commercial frenzy in China. To address this, I created a fictional persona based on a real person, the fleeting yet sensational artist known as Lao Wang.. His works revolved around the symbol of a cucumber, combining elements from both Eastern and Western cultures and continuously following the footsteps of art history and masters.
The actual Lao Wang is not only a personal friend of mine, but also someone who frequently helps with exhibition installations. All his artworks were created collaboratively by me and my team. We organized a grand exhibition for him, garnered media coverage and interviews for Lao Wang, edited interview transcripts, and provided him with rapid contemporary art education. We invited him to a lot of gala where he engaged with art world celebrities, the dean of the China Academy of Fine Arts, critics, media editors, and others. The event aimed to explore contemporary art, foster dialogue, and capture memorable moments through photography. The exhibition also gained popularity among a large number of young girls who eagerly admired and checked in with Lao Wang's works.
Through this intervention into society, the exhibition seemed to transform into a medium of creation and a means of interacting with society. Its purpose was to explore the relationship between art and human social life, as well as to playfully critique and provoke discussions within the art community regarding the issues and current state of the art industry and gallery exhibitions. It revealed the different perspectives on art viewing among various social circles and knowledge systems, as well as the ambiguous relationship between art as a cultural symbol and the art market.
Preface to the exhibition
As early as Plato, there were descriptions of essence and appearance, but the expanding reproduction overturned the dominance of "archetypes" and the conceptual worship of "reality" collapsed with the disappearance of spiritual rhythm. The age of simulation, as Jean Baudrillard called it, has entered. Wang's works inherited the product of this era, as a complete reproduction, while his imagery "turned shit into gold".
Such a change has unprecedentedly linked the public with art. From the imitation of value in the first era of the laws of nature, to the reproduction of value in the second era of the laws of commodities, to the simulation or mimesis of the laws of structure, the variability used to distinguish appearance from reality disappears.
Reproduction of the other as other matter for the other Reproduction of the self as self-matter
The wave of mechanized commodification rolls on and anything can be copied, art as well as people. The artistic pastime forms a counter-control, and the human being becomes a shaped object. With the idea of sharing but not caring about viewing. Repetition with epochal character, this creative thinking is repeatedly used as a traffic code for today's art. The constant mimesis, the act of reading information stripped of meaning, is reborn in the image and forms a reinterpretation of the problem.
In the 20th century, Marcuse basically became the thought leader of the leftist youth. They shouted the criticism that the so-called modern society had lost people's will to resist in a gentle way. From imitation of reality to fictional reality, to the construction of reality and even life, people live in the construction of the self listening to the other. And the search and questioning for the object self has been forgotten long ago. The modern turn of literary consumption takes people to look back at the old king's playful way among the loss of people can be a great pleasure.
"Only the incorporation of the mode makes sense, anything no longer develops according to its own purpose, but out of the mode, that is, out of the referential canon, as if he were a pre-purposeful, the only private truth." And intention as the opposite of private truthfulness makes the mimetic image a captive.
Lao Wang's work
Lao Wang's social activities
LaoWang took a group photo with the president of China Academy of Art, the president of Central Academy of Fine Arts, famous artists Xu Jiang and Chang Qing, and art critic Sun Zhouxing respectively
Wang Zhenghan (1960 -), known as Lao Wang, Yiming, alias Dongling, a native of Dandong City, Liaoning Province, is a famous artist and doctoral supervisor, born in a poor family and a grassroots artist. He became a self-taught artist and made artworks out of them and put them into art museums, and was called "China's Cartland". He is known as "China's Cattleman". He is also known as "Donghaizi and Cattleman" and "Donghaizi and Cattleman".
He is the honorary chairman of the China Art Association, the honorary chairman of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, and the president of the China Art Association.
He was awarded the Lin Fengmian Art Prize, the Xu Beihong Gold Medal, and the Zeng Zhushao Art Prize.
His works have been exhibited in the China Art Exhibition, Central Art Exhibition, State Councilors Art Exhibition, National Art Exhibition, Central Museum of Fine Arts, Tate Gallery, Ullens Art Museum, Ming Contemporary Art Museum, etc.