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Wang Jianwei selected as first commissioned artist for Chinese art initiative
Wang Jianwei, Ceremony, 2003. Multimedia (performance, video, installation), 60 min., Kunsten Festival des Arts, Brussels, Belgium; Institute of Contemporary Art, London; Festival d’Automne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. Photo: Wang Jianwei. Courtesy the artist.

NEW YORK, NY.- The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum announced the selection of Beijing-based artist Wang Jianwei as the first commissioned artist for The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Chinese Art Initiative at the Guggenheim Museum. Launched in early 2013, The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Chinese Art Initiative at the Guggenheim Museum has been established to expand the discourse on contemporary Chinese art by commissioning Chinese artists to create major works that will enter the Guggenheim Museum’s permanent collection and to present a series of exhibitions in conjunction with scholarly publications, notable lectures, and education programs.

The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Chinese Art Initiative is part of the Guggenheim Museum’s Asian Art Program directed by Dr. Alexandra Munroe, Samsung Senior Curator, Asian Art, and it is led by Dr. Thomas J. Berghuis, The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Curator of Chinese Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

Wang Jianwei is recognized throughout Asia and Europe for his bold experiments in conceptual, multimedia, and installation art—linking live performance, theater, and film production to sculpture, documentary photography, and figurative and abstract painting. His highly innovative, masterfully formal, and subtly complex practice engages with the most topical issues of social and political life in China today. The exhibition will be the artist’s first solo museum show in North America.

For this first cycle of The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Chinese Art Initiative at the Guggenheim Museum, Wang Jianwei has been commissioned to produce a multimedia installation comprised of sculpture, video, and painting—promising an immersive, rich, and complex environment. The thematic, conceptual, and formal parameters of the commission will be developed over the next year, and the work will be presented to the public at the Guggenheim Museum in fall 2014 as the first of three commission-based exhibitions that will explore key ideas and core artists who shape contemporary Chinese art within a global context.

Wang Jianwei is considered one of the leading artists of the historic, post-reform avant-garde and experimental art movements in China. Wang is also recognized as an influential thought leader and cultural catalyst in China for his work as a writer and for his public discourse on contemporary Chinese art and culture. Born in 1958 in Sichuan Province (Western China), Wang pursued his graduate studies at the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts (now China Academy of Art) in Hangzhou. Beginning in the early 1990s, Wang became a pioneer of video and installation art in China, while developing a singular artistic practice invested in increasingly elaborate multimedia productions. Exploring history and social memory, Wang’s subject matter often concerns the everyday, existential conditions of life in China under rapid economic reform, and the expansion of urbanization of traditionally rural societies. Informed by critical theory and Chinese philosophy, his works often seek to give form to structures of contingency, process, and the nature of contemporary being.

Wang Jianwei’s work has been featured in several exhibitions, including Documenta X (1997); How Latitudes Become Form: Art in a Global Age, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2003); Past in Reverse, Contemporary Art of East Asia, San Diego Museum of Art (2004); Between Past and Future, International Center of Photography and Asia Society, New York (2004); The Wall (2005), Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; and his projects: Flying Bird Is Motionless (2005) and Dilemma: Three-Way Fork in the Road (2007), were presented at Chambers Fine Art, New York. Wang recently had two solo exhibitions in Beijing: Yellow Signal (2011) at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) and “the event matured, accomplished in sight of all non-existent human outcomes” (2013) at the Long March Space.

Wang Jianwei: The Texture of Reality (working title) is organized by Dr. Thomas J. Berghuis, The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Curator of Chinese Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

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