Wang Youshen


Wang Youshen
b. 1964, Beijing
Installation and conceptual artist
Wang Youshen graduated from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 1988. He continued his studies in the Department of Folk Art, majoring in illustration and graphic art and experimenting with various materials and media, mostly drawn from daily life. His job as an editor of the Beijing Youth Daily also became a source of inspiration for his art, which explores the limitations a media-filtered culture imposes on the human mind. In his Newspaper series (1992–3) Wang tries to reproduce such cultural and media games by plastering an entire portion of the Great Wall with disjointed news clippings from one issue of the Beijing Youth Daily. Wang’s work also investigates the physical and psychological response of audiences to historical issues. Washing: 1941—Datong, Ten Thousand Men in a Ditch (1995) is an installation where two enlarged photos taken from a report on the brutalities of the Japanese invasion of the 1930s are placed in two bath tubs and washed under running water until they gradually disappear. The interplay between audience and art is a crucial element in Wang’s work.
In Dark Room (1998), he built a photo lab in which images at different stages of developing were left floating in the water, and the public were invited to print copies of their personal photographic material. Wang has taken part in several international shows: ‘Mao Goes Pop’ at the Australian Contemporary Art Museum in Sydney (1993); the 45th Venice Biennale—‘Aperto’ (1993); ‘In and Out—Contemporary Chinese Art of Mainland and Diaspora’ at the LaSalle SIA College of the Arts in Singapore (1997–2000); and ‘Polypolis: Art from Asian Pacific Megacities’ at the Kunsthaus in Hamburg, Germany (2001).
(1997). In and Out: Contemporary Art from China and Australia. Singapore: LaSalle-SIA College of Art, Singapore.
Chiu, Melissa (1996). ‘Everyday Sightings: Melissa Chiu Interviews the Chinese Artist Wang Youshen’. ART AsiaPacific 3.2:50–4.
Doran, Valerie C. (ed.) (1993). China’s New Art, Post-1989 (exhibition catalogue). Hong Kong: Hanart T Z Gallery.
Thomas, Bronwyn (1992). ‘Art and the Critic in Contemporary China’. Orientations 23.7 (July): 59–61 [based on an interview with Wang Youshen].
BEATRICE LEANZA

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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