Wang Jin - Contemporary Art London Thursday, June 21, 2007 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Private collection, New York

  • Catalogue Essay

    The conceptual artist Wang Jin was born in 1962 in Datong, a coal-mining city in northern China. He graduated from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 1987 and now lives and works in Beijing. Like many of China’s best conceptual artists, Wang displays an effortless versatility with the mediums of sculpture, performance, and photography. His artistic concerns center around the social conflicts raised by China’s rapid modernization, as well as the new sources of desire and conflict that arise in this materialist society.

    Wang’s most famous sculptural series is Dream of China. Each unique sculpture from this series is crafted after a Beijing Opera costume in the extremely utilitarian material of polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Beijing Opera costumes date back to the mid-14th century, when these magnificently colored, highly elaborate robes symbolized a character’s role, gender, status, and other attributes: the more intricate and theatrical the robe, the more noble the character.

    The present lot from 1998 is one of Wang’s earliest sculptures in the series, a perfect exemplar of the extraordinarily intricate detail and craftsmanship that characterized these costumes. The resulting sculpture is ethereal yet distinctly contemporary: while the robe is stripped of its symbolic and practical function, its aesthetic form emerges as the compelling focus.


Dream of China

PVC robe embroidered with fishing line.
68 x 82 x 6 in. (172.7 x 208.3 x 15.2 cm).
Inscribed "Wang Jin" on left edge and dated "2005" on right edge.

£25,000 - 35,000 

Sold for £31,200

Contemporary Art

22 June 2007, 4pm & 5pm