'Archives of Longing' a solo exhibition by Beijing-based artist, Wang Lifeng
Wang Lifeng is an artist who has reflected deeply on how the truths and misfortunes of Chinese culture and history can or should be reflected in contemporary works of art. He rejects the purely narrative authorised version of history and tries to imagine what different periods of Chinese history must have been like. He believes that contemporary society must maintain the essential beliefs and practices of the past in order to transcend the superficial and often self-seeking materialism of the present.
Wang’s background in stage design is evident in his work. His compositions suggest a setting and an ambience, and he provides visual clues to give us historical bearings. His painterly abstraction creates a discernible mood and with all of these elements he forges his own subjective view of history.
The sensual images in the Archives of Longing make reference to the architecture, calligraphy and erotic art from the Ming dynasty. He uses the lens of history to interpret the present. Wang poetically combines collages of woodblocks, ink and mixed media and frames them in the form of an ancient Chinese book. His uniqueness lies in his ability to reimagine images from China’s past while simultaneously creating a new visual language.