» Archive for 8 March 2008
The Other Side of Totality
Joyart: Feb 2-Mar 26
Guns, tanks, and military paraphernalia have been Wang Luyan’s recent obsession and in “The Other Side of Totality” he doesn’t stray from war-machine themes. His conceptual ideas come across more consummate, and more pure than his recent installation work; the result is playful and silly at first glance, but the experience can evolve into something socio-political, even insubordinate––the exhibition’s success is this depth achieved through such subtle manipulation of space and visual play.
Wang Ludan is a heavyweight artist, visitors look precarious under “heavyweight” tank tracks that he has painted to the ceiling, and almost Lilliputian bounding up and down the concrete mound that seems ballooning up from the center of the room.
In the main hall, a cube, essentially, is ten feet high with a slice of natural light that comes in through a ceiling window. The environment is thorough, green tracks cover all and the swelling concrete mound is flawless. His geometrically precise rendering is ominous in size but cartoonish in style.
A small, unceremonious room to the side is essentially the opposite of the main room, the angular and concave shaping of the concrete addition, and the confined feeling almost feel like a narrow grave, Sharpie marker “Xs” mark the wall at eye level. In contrast to the outer room, is this haphazard feeling intentional? This room has the makings of a small scale Michael Heizer installation in the way it is bathed in negative space, but its execution is too slapdash to compare.
The other side of totality is a contradiction––the implausibility of the mound existing inside a tank, or the surrealistic feeling of being encompassed by the treads. As for the socio-political meaning, the implications you endow the tank with are yours alone.
originally published on artforum.com