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The History of Chinese Contemporary Art 1900-1999

Author: Lv Peng 2000

Suicide, Wei Guangqing's performance piece has affected the early 80s. His Yellow Book in 1991 is considered as "escaping from the metaphysical anxiety and turning to think some more about realistic issues of humanities such as 'cultural criticism'"(Zhu Bing). In the 80s, Wei Guangqing's interest in the philosopher, Camus—"There's only one question for the serious philosopher: Suicide." In the 90s, the artist notices Warhol's saying, "fifteen minutes of fame".

By 1992, Wei Guangqing has finished his representative work of the early 90s, the series of Red Wall. The symbols and the content of Red Wall were from "Zhu Zi Jia Xun". The artist hopes to express his understanding of traditional ethics through a popular composition and production. Different from his work in the 80s, Wei Guangqing doesn't express his intentions or his interpretation. In the work, the artist has no statement, and he just outlines the red wall, adopts particular colors to depict and process the figures and scenes in the woodcarving prints, to endow Red Wall a special impact on the eye.

Wei Guangqing doesn't extract the theme from the political symbols as Wang Guangyi has done. His interests on historical and moral themes illustrate his particular sensitivity. In the Guangzhou Biennial, the products of commercial society appeared in the series of Red Wall. The subject of "Home Prosperous" was pulled out of the domestic and Japanese products of film cones. The partial color painting in the roll film endows the expression with painting quality, indirectly being responsive to the large blank area. The academic comments of the Guangzhou Biennial claimed: "the work is apparent with symbols and metaphors of the language of pop art, and in the way of Chinese traditional woodcarving illustration, strong colors and adequate size, changing the original quality of the pop language—the deconstruction of meaning. It offers us a valuable example for the future research of variation on the language of western contemporary art."

After 1993, Wei Guangqing finishes the series of Misunderstanding of Eroticism, which juxtaposes the illustrations of stories from Ming and Qing dynasties with the female images of the popular magazines, connects to questions of sex, morality, and meaning. This connection is considered as " supposing challenge and censure of the contemporary questions aiming at life and culture" (Zhao Li, Guo Tong). Additional significance of the image is the implication of its interpretation. In fact, the work of pop art, Wei Guangqing completed in this period is merely a proof: in the age of transformation, nothing is impossible and nothing is valuable.

----- Selected from "The History of Chinese Contemporary Art", By Lu Peng, 2000.

Wei Guangqing's Red Wall series prominently puts historical aspects to the front of the composition; the artist simultaneously increases the use of spectrum technique to add humor, but not to lose rigorously. As a result, a kind of inert thought, Wei Guangqing is unable to give up the metaphor and the symbol. The artist uses Chinese tradition woodcarving technique and the intense color, and changes the nature of spectrum language—to scatter its significance. He uses his understanding of the 90s western art as a model for China's changing situation.

----- Selected from " The History of Chinese Contemporary Art", By Lu Peng, 2000.

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