First retrospective of Wang Guangyi in Europe

 

 

Wang Guangyi is the "other" artist icon of Chinese contemporary art and now has his first retrospective in Europe, in the halls of MAC a Coruna entitled The Relics of believers.

 

 

 

 

With his work analyzes the revolutionary power of the image, a common tool to all civilizations, and so in the exhibition there are a lot of references to political posters, religious imagery, photographs of the star system, a collection of images in which it finally reflects the concept of faith, as a unifying homogenizer engine for the societies that is common to the most diverse civilizations.

 

 

 

 

The exhibition of MAC, Museum of Contemporary Art Gas Natural Fenosa A Coruna, offers a unified experience to understand the production and full life of the author in an environment of concentration and meditation.

 

 

"This anthology serves as a synthesis of 30 years of work, ranging from his first series of 1985 entitled 'The back of humanity', to 'The relics of believers', a work of this summer, made for exposure and that entitled the sample. Galician art critic Anton Castro, one of the curators of the exhibition, explains: "The intention was to present this together as a single body and not as a gallery of works in chronological order," he adds.

 

 

 

Wang Guangyi (Harbin, China, 1957) was born into a humble family and suffered the rigors of Mao's Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) being enlisted in the Red Guard, labeled "intellectual" and sentenced to a reeducation camp. As an adult, it is one of the biggest names of the socalled Movimiento 85, humanist and renewing movement  born with the aim of revolt against a stagnant culture, provoke desire to live and establish a new spiritual model.

 


The exhibition includes representative works of his career, among which, the paintings of the Great Criticism series in which colorful images of Maoist propaganda mixes with Western well known logos and trademarks in an exercise in paradox in which politics, religion and capitalism are suggested as ways to improve our lives. In MAC you can also see his first paintings - with a cold and faceless humanity-, works of this year - a reinterpretation of Don Quixote- and, of course, the installation Relics of Believers, created especially for this exhibition and that gathers images of political leaders like John F. Kennedy or Mao Zedong with samples of uniforms.

 

Wang Guangyi has exhibited in many of the most prestigious museums of contemporary art in the world, as the Centre Pompidou in Paris or the Saatchi Gallery of London and has a great commercial success since the early 90s of last century.

The CEART opens this Thursday, November 14th in the room A an exhibition dedicated to this master of photography, which will be open to the public until February 9th. The show includes one of the artist's latest projects, focused on the hard work carried out by the miners of Serra Pelada, an open gold mine in the heart of Brazil where employees daily risked their lives.

Immigration, poverty, marginal life, slave labour, man's relationship with the land, the use of natural resources... are issues that have always fascinated Salgado. From the beginning of his career as a photographer, his work has opted to give visibility to the most disadvantaged groups and to create with his images a vivid and impressive visual story without fakes. With a raw black and white, this author's work transits between photo-reportage and naturalistic photography.

And the idea that permeates all his work is human dignity. Salgado portrays employees, miners and gatherers from a purely humanistic approach that wants to value their integrity, their strength and their resilience.

“If you photograph a human, so that he is not represented in a noble way, there is no reason to take the picture. That is my way of seeing things.”

Salgado entered this discipline long after completing his studies in economics between Brazil and the United States, and a doctorate in statistics in France. But in 1973 his life took a turn, and he decided to start his career as a photographer. He achieved to work at the Gamma Agency and Magnum Photos for more than 15 years until in 1994 he founded his own agency “Amazonas Imagen”.

With the “Gold” project, the photographer portrays a harsh reality that takes place in the Serra Pelada mine, a name given to a totally devastated and anarchically excavated mining enclave, the world's largest open-pit gold mine, through which more than 50,000 people have passed. In the heat of the legends about the mysterious “El Dorado”, the enthusiasm for this precious metal led to the development of strenuous exploitation practices for the workers and to originate tales of grief and glory, of human victory and defeat between the soil, the tunnels and the cargo baskets.

The CEART exhibition brings together Salgado's full portfolio in his characteristical black and white and large-format photographs that leave no one indifferent.