ShanghART Gallery 香格纳画廊

The Materialist
Millet-coated polyester 2/6

Materialist is a fiberglass sculpture covered by hulled millets. It is a continuation of Great Criticism, WANG Guangyi's easel painting series, in which the images of worker/peasant/solider (representing the aesthetics of Cultural Revolution propaganda) and the brands of consumables in the Western world are juxtaposed as the unique visual symbol employed by the artist. The standardised posture of the figure in this sculpture functions on the other hand as a vehicle of his paradoxical identities of both critiquing and being critiqued. The sheer volume conveys a sense of absolute power possessed by heroes, who, nevertheless, are barely capable of shunning materiality in modern society. Hulled millet perhaps spells our memory of materials in hard times, whereas the hero covered with these grains generates an unexpected texture: the mottled hybrid of the faith of a particular era, the ideology of a state and economic system of the time.