Wang Xingwei, a Chinese artist who counts Marcel Duchamp amongst his heroes, is headed for Beijing's Ullen Center for Contemporary Art for his very own retrospective this month. Showcasing a selection of whimsical, bizarre and even slightly frightening paintings, the exhibit showcases the anti-establishment attitude of one of China's biggest contemporary art stars.
Wang Xingwei, Red East, 1995, Oil on canvas, 180 x 180 cm
Wang's body of work is humorous yet subversive, entangling elements of Yue Minjun's light-hearted figure paintings with the surreal stylings of Dutch great, Rene Magritte. From cartoonish depictions of political leaders to human-like subjects sporting potted-plant heads, he throws art history standards to the wind, creating non-sensical portraits of the world as he sees it.
Born in China's Liaoning Province in 1969, Wang rose to recognition in the 1990s, producing a series of oil paintings in a time when installation work and performance art dominated the creative scene. He cultivated a reputation for being a present-day Duchampian, directly referencing the readymade master in works like "AD 2017" and "Beacon."
The exhibit at Ullens focuses less on historical hat-tips and more on the mundane activities of everyday life. Still maintaining Wang's signature wry sense of humor, the show is organized according to "the relationship of the subject to the canvas," a comically arbitrary concept that breaks down into four categories -- works portraying front-facing individuals, rear-facing individuals, profiles and partial profiles. Scroll through the images below for a sneak peek of Wang's work. Let us know what you think of the paintings in the comments.
Wang Xingwei's exhibit will be on view at Ullens Center for Contemporary Art from May 19 to August 18, 2013.