Wang Guangyi

Wang Guangyi is the leading protagonist of the post-1989 Political Pop movement - one of the major artistic movements to have developed in the aftermath of the events of 1989 - Tiananmen Square and the closure of the China/Avant Garde exhibition at the China National Gallery. It is characterised by the combination of propaganda images, Pop Art and commercial advertising. Wang Guangyi's Great Criticism series combines the propaganda posters of the Cultural Revolution with the brand names of famous western consumer products. Idealised peasants and workers yield pens instead of hammers or shovels and appear to extol the virtues of Coca Cola, Nokia or Swatch. Wang Guangyi calls the ironic effect produced by the juxtaposition of icons, cultural or other, from different eras anatomic structuralism. This anatomic structuralism destroys the original intent of each image resulting in an absurdity.

Wang Guangyi is interested in the visual transmission of the socialist message. He first thought about making his Materialist sculptures in 2000-2001. The inspiration came from the socialist realist statues he saw everyday throughout his childhood. Images of leaders or of model heroes were immensely effective communicators of power and idealism, and deeply inspirational for a great many people. Interested in the communicative power of these sculptures, Wang Guangyi wanted to continue the communication thus bringing that era of Chinese history to younger generations, making them reflect on Chinese history. He wants to transmit the concept of socialism using a visual approach and at the same time communicate some of the faith the Chinese people had in the socialist message. Power is an important element in these works. Wang Guangyi considers these sculptures a turning point in his work, moving away from the cultural conflicts expressed in his Great Criticism paintings.




Born in Harbin


Graduated from the Oil Painting Department, Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts, Hangzhou

Living and working in Beiijing

Selected Solo Exhibitions


Wang Guangyi: Cold War Aesthetics, Louise Blouin Institute, London, United Kingdom

Visual Politics - Solo of Wang Guangyi, He Xiangning Art Museum, Guangdong, China


Wang Guangyi, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris, France


Wang Guangyi, Galerie ARARIO, Seoul, Korea


Art and People Galerie Urs Meile, Lucerne, Switzerland


Galerie Enrico Navarra, Paris, France

Wang Guangyi, Galerie Urs Meile, Lucerne, Switzerland


Hanart TZ Gallery, Hong Kong


Soobin Art Gallery, Singapore


Littman Kultureprojekte,Basel, Switzerland


Hanart TZ Gallery,Hong Kong

Selected Group Exhibitions


The Revolution Continues - New Art from China, The Saatchi Gallery, London, United Kingdom

Avant-Garde China: Tenty Years of Chinese Contemporary Art, The National Art Center, Tokyo, Japan

Writing on the Wall: Chinese New Realism and Avant - Garde in the 80's and 90's, Groninger Museum, Groningen, NL

Case Studies of Artists in Art History and Art Criticism, SZ Art Center, Beijing, China


RED HOT - Asian Art Today from the Chaney Family Collection, Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, USA

Absolute Images II, Arario Gallery, New York, USA

ShContemporary 2007, Shanghai Exhibition Center, Shanghai


Plato and His Seven Spirits, Century OCT, Beijing, China

Jiang Hu Tilton Gallery, New York, USA


Mahjong, Kunsthalle, Bern & Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany


Beautiful Cynicism, ARARIO BEIJING, Beijing, China

Plato and His Seven Spirits, Century OCT, Shenzhen, China


Chine, le corps partout?,Museum of Contemporary Art, Marseilles, France


Alors la Chine?, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France

The First Guangzhou Triennial, Guangdong, China


50 x 50, FIAC 2002 and Chinese Contemporary Gallery, London, England

Image is Power, Shenzhen Art Museum, He Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen, China

Paris-Peking, Espace Cardin, Paris, France

1st Guangzhou Triennale, Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China

Chinese Modernity, Armandao Alvares Penteado Foundation, Sao Paulo, Brazil


New Image: 20 Years of Chinese Contemporary Painting, to tour major Chinese art museums


At The New Century 1979-1999, China's Contemporary Art Works, Modern Art Museum,     Chengdu, China


1999 China, Limn Gallery, San Francisco, USA

Inside Out, PS1 New York, USA

First Invitational Exhibition of Shanghe Art Gallery, Shanghe (Upriver) Art Gallery, Chengdu,     China


8+8-1, 15 Contemporary Artists, Schoeni Art Gallery, Hong Kong

China Now, Kulturprojekte, Basel, Switzerland


China!, Kunstmuseum, Bonn, Germany

Asia Pacific Triennial, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia


Kampnagel, Halle-K3, Hamburg, Germany

Aperto ‘95, Santa Monica Art Centre, Barcelona, Spain

Art to Swatch, The Museum of Architecture and Design, Chicago, USA


22nd International Biennale of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Seoul 600 International Art Festival, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea


China Avant-Garde, Kunsthal, Berlin, MoMA , Rotterdam, Netherlands

45th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy

China's New Art Post-1989, Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong

Mao Goes Pop, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia


The First Guangzhou Biennale, Guangzhou, China


Gallery Bianca Pilat, Milan, Italy


Asia Pacific Museum, Pasadena, California, USA

Tokyo Art Gallery, Tokyo, Japan


Chinese National Art Exhibition, National Art Gallery, Beijing, China


Shanghai Art Gallery, Shanghai, China


National Art Gallery, Beijing, China