Wang Jinsong - China Avant-Garde: The Farber Collection London Friday, October 12, 2007 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist

  • Literature

    Chinese Contemporary Photography & Video International Arts Festival – Tachikawa, 1999, pp. 44-45 (illustrated); The Condition of Chinese Contemporary Art, Gao Brothers, eds., Jiangsu People’s Publishing House, 2002, p. 229 (illustrated); Love P. Lisio, M. Connolly and S. Welland, eds., Making China: Cultural Implosion, New York, 2002, pp. 64-65 (illustrated); Chinese Art No. 35, February 2004, pp. 48-49 (illustrated);

  • Catalogue Essay

    After being trained as a traditional Chinese ink painter, Wang Jinsong painted with Cynical Realists in the early 1990s before turning to photography to depict the current state of Chinese society. His work examines the implication of various government policies, as well as the effect of westernization on the Chinese people.

    The photographic series Parents illustrates the juxtaposition of traditional and contemporary concepts in the lives of the old people he photographed. The portraits represent old-age couples living by themselves, their children long gone from the family home. They are representative of different social classes of Chinese society, but all come from an older generation who remains outside of the contemporary, westernized and commercialized culture.

    “Among the people I photographed for the Parents series, the children had moved away and the couples seemed to enjoy their independence. In these pictures you see nothing of youth culture, such as posters of movie stars or pop singers, and rarely did I find portraits of political figures as you commonly see in earlier photographs (two couples I visited had hung portraits of Zhou En-lai). Today the old folks prefer to display scrolls of calligraphy, flowers they have grown, or their pet birds. By presenting them among their possessions, I hope to show not only differences of taste and social status but also the ways in which government policies have marked their lives. I try not to emphasize that point but those [in China] who see the work understand the meaning of these surface details.” (Wang Jinsong. Exh. Cat. China, Fifty Years Inside the People’s Republic, Asia Society, New York.)

538

Parents

1996
20 color photographs.
7 1/2 x 10 in. (19.1 x 25.4 cm) each; framed: 8 3/4 x 11 3/8 in. (22.2 x 29.7 cm) each.
Signed, titled and dated “Parents [in Chinese] 1997 Wang Jinsong [in Chinese]” and numbered of eight on the reverse of each print. This work is from an edition of eight.

Estimate
£7,000 - 9,000 

Sold for £4,200

China Avant-Garde: The Farber Collection

The Farber Collection
13 October 2007, 7pm
London