Wang Jin, Chinese (1962 - )
Wang Jin is an artist of startling creativity, developing many ideas at any one time. Having produced some of the most poignant performances of the early 1990s, his more recent works have included the series called "Chinese Dream" and "Censor America (Zhangliang Meiguo)".
Chinese Dreams are Peking opera robes made in polyvinylchloride (pvc) with fishing line embroidery. The artist chose pvc as the material for these robes because he feels plastic can perfectly represent contemporary society. It is a consumer product and omnipresent in developing countries. The artist calls it "high tech rubbish". For Wang Jin, the combination of the perfect contemporary material with an iconic shape from Chinese tradition, the Beijing opera robe, represents the path that tradition takes. In contemporary society, tradition is often shunned when actually every minute that passes becomes part of tradition. The flow of tradition through contemporary life is inevitable and important. Characteristics which gave the original its identity have been changed, adapted to a new situation. Wang Jin is almost indifferent to the fact that plastic is transparent; he chose plastic because it is plastic and has substance, contemporary substance.
The Censor America series are US banknotes painted on old paving stones. These stones are traditionally called "cold blocks" by the Chinese. They are made of a great many layers of compressed earth and polished to such a high shine that they resembled gold - very appropriate for their new guise as a contemporary work of art. Wang Jin uses these old paving stones to represent the weight or power of the American dollar in the world economy today. There is also the undercurrent that culture is being consumed by market forces. Wang Jin has begun a series with european banknotes, perhaps reflecting a rise in importance of the European Union.
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