Wang Qingsong, an artist from Beijing has grown up watching China evolve from a Communist, old world society to the booming, trendy and modern country it is today.
His works too, have evolved. Formerly a painter, now a photographer, he is also exploring video as a medium as China’s version of YouTube becomes more popular.
His show at the International Center of Photography, “Wang Qingsong: When Worlds Collide” is his biggest appearance in the United States. Still it is comprised of only 12 photographs and 3 videos, some with a performance art effect. In one of the video pieces it shows a team of builders erecting a 115-foot scaffold in Beijing. Another piece “Iron Man” depicts the artist himself being beaten with ghostlike fists.
The curator, Christopher Phillips who organized the show at ICP compares him to other artists of the 20th century who have dealt with political themes in an artistic manner. Government censorship still exists in China today, and Mr. Wang has in the past had film negatives confiscated for their political content. He blends ancient Chinese culture and heritage with contemporary elements as in his piece of a Buddha holding a cigarette.
The International Center of Photography is located in mid-town Manhattan at 1133 Avenue of the Americas.