Exhibitions

 
  • © The Artist

Wang Qingsong

Temporary Ward

21 October 2008 - 24 November 2008

BALTIC is proud to present a new work by acclaimed contemporary Chinese artist Wang Qingsong, created in Newcastle by the artist in association with Northern Stage as part of EAST’08. In September this year, 300 participants took part in a photographic shoot at Northern Stage. The image took several days to set-up, and a full day to shoot. 

It was photographed within Stage 1 at Northern Stage, and transmitted live onto screens throughout the theatre.  The fascinating process of creating the work was kindly documented and supported by Newcastle University’s Culture Lab, and a short film on the making of the work is shown here, along with the final image.

Additional Information

Northern Stage contacted Wang Qingsong in early 2007 to ask whether he would be interested in responding both to their newly redeveloped theatre building and to the cultural renaissance in NewcastleGateshead.  He travelled to the region on a research visit in February 2008 which was when the idea for Temporary Ward was born.  The project was produced as part of the culture 10 EAST’08 programme.

On 13 September 2008 the project came to fruition, as Northern Stage worked with Wang Qingsong, and his photographic team on the unique live installation.  300 local volunteers were invited to appear in the photograph, which looked to explore the notion of pain and healing, and theatre as a cathartic experience for the audience.  Both the final work and the process of making it ask questions about the nature of performance and its relationship to the still image.

Wang Qingsong was born in 1966 during the first year of the Cultural Revolution. His father died when he was 15, and to support himself he worked in the oil fields of South Central China for 8 years, applying 5 times to various art academies before being accepted at the Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts, from where he graduated in 1991.  Now, an acclaimed contemporary artist, his large-scale, staged photographs are both ironic and humorous, hovering provocatively between fiction and reality.  The tableaux he creates are bright and glossy, whilst calling to mind traditional Chinese paintings.  His work has been cited as part of a contemporary Chinese movement, termed “Gaudy Art” by critic Li Xianting, exploring consumerism, and using familiar motifs from both popular culture of China and the West.

Northern Stage contacted Wang Qingsong in early 2007 to ask whether he would be interested in responding both to their newly redeveloped theatre building and to the cultural renaissance in NewcastleGateshead.  He travelled to the region on a research visit in February 2008 which was when the idea for Temporary Ward was born.  The project was produced as part of the culture 10 EAST’08 programme.

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