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Wang Qiang: Backwater



Curator: Lu Mingjun

Date: 2018.9.20 - 2018.10.20

Venue: Pond Society

Organizer: New Century Art Foundation


Pond Society is pleased to present Backwater, a solo exhibition of Wang Qiang curated by Lu Mingjun.

In February 1997, Wang Qiang conducted the participatory installation Backwater during his residency at Vermont Studio Center in the US, in which he hung a mirror under a small bridge in the suburbs near the residence. The mirror reflected part of the passing river under the bridge, which was then seen by the audiences as a piece of backflow water. Being one of Pond Society's original members, such practice obviously carried the linguistic traces from his time with the collective in the 1980s. He did not intend to communicate any specific style, concept or attitude, but chose to immerse into natural or social space silently, questioning and disrupting the viewing experience and structure of perception that had always been dominating us.

Twenty years later, Wang Qiang's solo exhibition is organized here at Pond Society. This is his first appearance after more than ten years of dormancy. Coincidentally, the precursor of "Pond Society" was also the aforementioned art group of the same name in the 1980s. As the title "Backwater" suggests, we don't really know if Wang Qiang's return to "Pond Society" is whether flowing downstream or upstream. Perhaps it is exactly the artist's intention to convey such an uncertain sense of ambiguity.

The exhibition consists of nine recent works. “Immersion”, “obscure object” and drifting “square” constitute the theme and hidden clues of the exhibition. There are no ready-mades nor political symbols, but several unidentified "obscure objects" originating from the intuitive fabrication. It is these "obscure objects" that liberate not only the things themselves but also our perception. “Square” runs through Wang's artistic practice as most of his works use “square” as the visual benchmark or formal morpheme; but at the same time, the highly definite "square" is also providing reference and basic parameter for all of his doubts and sense of uncertainty. Of course, Wang Qiang's practice does not stop at the cession of subject and liberation of perception; he tries to unlock the cognitive potential and space of imagination based more on suspicion and reflexivity through the complicated entanglement of dialectical relations between the light and the heavy, the virtual and the real, the solid and the fragile, as well as the chaos and the order.