Wang Qingsong (b. 1966)
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Wang Qingsong (b. 1966)

Follow Me

Wang Qingsong (b. 1966)
Follow Me
signed in English and Chinese, numbered and dated '5/10 Wang Qingsong 2003' (lower right)
chromogenic print
47¼ x 118 1/8in. (120 x 300cm.)
Executed in 2003, this work is number five from an edition of ten
CourtYard Gallery, Beijing.
F2 Gallery, Beijing.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
The First Nominative Exhibition of Fine Arts, exh. cat., Hubei Institute of Fine Arts, 2004 (another from the edition illustrated, p. 16).
China Overview, Milan 2004 (another from the edition illustrated on the cover).
Romantique: Wang Qingsong, exh. cat., Beijing, Courtyard Gallery, 2004 (another from the edition illustrated, p. 5).
E. Battiston (ed.), Out of the Red. The New Emerging Generation of Chinese Photographers, Bologna 2004 (another from the edition illustrated, pp. 190-191).
Eyemazing the Netherlands, Issue 5, Winter 2004 (another from the edition illustrated, pp. 38-39).
Zoom, Italy, September-October 2004 (another from the edition illustrated, p. 16).
BLAST, no. 15, Paris, November/December 2004 (another from the edition illustrated, pp. 66-67).
NY Arts Magazine, no. 7/8, vol. 9 (another from the edition illustrated, p. 23 and on the cover).
Wang Qingsong, "Chinese Photography 360 Degrees, Satirizing the Times", in Photo Pictorial, issue 465, Hong Kong 2004 (another from the edition illustrated, p. 7).
Young Artists from Korea, China and Japan, exh. cat., Seoul, National Museum of Contemporary Art, 2004-2005 (another from the edition illustrated, pp. 150-151).
C International Photo Magazine, no. 1, London 2005 (another from the edition illustrated, pp. 82-83).
Follow Me! Chinese Art at the Threshold of the New Millenium, exh. cat., Tokyo, Mori Art Museum, 2005 (another from the edition illustrated, pp. 80-81).
Montpellier Chine: MC1, exh. cat., Montpellier, 2005 (another from the edition illustrated, p. 158).
Re-Viewing 2005 Guangzhou International Photography Biennale, exh. cat., Guangdong Art Museum, 2005 (another from the edition illustrated, pp. 110-111).
Area 78, 2005 (another from the edition illustrated).
Photo Technik International, Germany, March 2005 (another from the edition illustrated, pp. 44-45).
Digitalis Foto Magazin, Budapest, June 2006 (another from the edition illustrated, pp. 85-86).
Les Recontres d'Arles Photographie 37th, exh. cat., Arles, 2006 (another from the edition illustrated, pp. 464-465).
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Lot Essay

Beijing-based Wang Qingsong produces large-scale, meticulously directed conceptual photographs, frequently featuring himself as a central figure as an ironic witness to the scene around him. In his earliest photographic works, Wang relied on digital manipulation to produce images that mimicked the product fetishism of Chinese commercial mass advertising. These works were a deliberate pastiche of popular visual cultural and the increasing influence of consumer advertising. Indeed, a recurring theme of his works has been the banal transformation of popular culture under the influence of consumerism. Like his contemporary Jeff Koons, Wang is a kind of post-Pop artist, relying on hyper-real colors and often larger-than-life proportions. His works are richly detailed, full of historical, cultural and personal references, with the impact of globalization and modernization forever looming as a backdrop.

Over the years, Wang has gravitated more and more to large format photographs featuring elaborately staged tableaus, many of which are created on film stages and involving dozens if not hundreds of hired "actors." His Follow Me is deceptively reduced in its theatrics. In it, the artist himself sits at a traditional Chinese desk, bespectacled and impassive. A globe, a Chinese porcelain mug, and a bottle of Coca-Cola sit atop the desk. Wang sits before an impossibly large blackboard, dense with English and Chinese phrases indexing China's (and the artist's) anxious desire to perform fluently and competently on the world's stage. Produced in 2003, the year after Beijing was confirmed as the site of the 2008 Olympics, the country was already moving a new stage of feverish development and a highly self-conscious desire for improvement and respect on every level.

Scrawled frenetically across the chalkboard beyond the artist are consumer logos, the Olympic rings, a sketch of the Great Wall, references to the art world, and presumably essential phrases for the Chinese global citizen of the 21st Century, including, "How are you", "the very best of luck with Beijing 2008", "SARS" and "call girl." Wang has said, "After the turbulence of the past century, the traditions and ancient cultures of China are gone. Mindless pride in our nation is now replaced by a mindless desire for Western consumption." His works present a droll, satirical mirror to his times, highlighting the urgency and bald-faced awkwardness accompanying the country's drive towards modernization. Drawing from folk cultural forms, popular and consumer culture, Chinese history and society, Wang has a truly distinct Chinese Pop aesthetic. As with the famous description of the the great pop artist of the 20th Century, Andy Warhol, Wang is in many ways the artist who gives his audience exactly the art that they deserve.

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