Wang Tuo employs various mediums and a process that combined interview, reality show and the theatre of absurd to construct a maze of melodrama. Through his performative manipulation on individuals’ lived experiences and intervention in intellectual legacies such as literature, film, theatre and art history, Wang’s practice attempts to examine the unreliable relationship between the contemporary human status, myth and cultural archive. In the self-referential environments that he constructs, dramatic, often humorous as well as absurd aspects of the concept of society are exposed. Wang’s practice also seeks to develop a discourse on how present ideology is derived from its historical context continues to adapt to changing condition.
Wang’s recent solo shows include “The Monkey Grammarians” (Salt Project, Beijing, China, 2017), “A Little Violence of Organized Forgetting” (Taikang Space, Beijing, China, 2016). And joint recent group shows at Julia Stoschek Collection, Düsseldorf (2018), Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden (2019), Zarya Center for Contemporary Art, Vladivostok (2018), Times Museums, Guangzhou (2019), OCAT Shenzhen (2018), OCAT Shanghai (2019), How Art Museum, Shanghai (2019), chi K11 Art Space, Shenyang (2018), Queens Museum, New York (2017), National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung (2015), Vox Populi, Philadelphia (2015). Wang was an Artist in Residence at the Queens Museum, New York from 2015 to 2017. He won the China Top Shorts Award and the Outstanding Art Exploration Award for Chinese Short Films in Beijing International Short Film Festival 2018. Wang Tuo is the winner of the Three Shadows Photography Award 2018 and the Youth Contemporary Art Wuzhen Award 2019.
Wang currently lives and works in Beijing, China.
Symptomatic Silence of Complicit Forgetting / 2020
In Symptomatic Silence of Complicit Forgetting, a writer in blockage, and a silently ruminating wife. They live in the same room, but each absent-mindedly inhabit their own worlds attempting to complete unspeakable trauma in the past. Ghosts literally live side by side with the living in this contemporary Chinese family. In another timeline, the writer, as a young Red Guard, mistakenly entered a study room full of abandoned manuscripts, and immersed himself in the reading of an old story. Jolted by the noises of a march outdoors, he bursted out into the open field. This is an archetypal story that runs deeply in Chinese memory, far away yet close by, and even till now, imperceptible pain hides quietly in our contemporary reality.
In Forms of Forgetting, German scholar Aleida Assmann proposes a kind of complicit forgetting, that is when the system attempts to erase certain memories in the past, and their victims accordingly manifest a traumatic silence. These two silences add up to a mutual complicity. Just as the writer in the film could not heal his deep wound through writing, those who share the same historical trauma similarly fall into a collective silence. This silence becomes symptoms that are unspeakable, chronic, and transferred to our present relationships.
A series of sketches are created based on the pertinent themes and imagery that arose from the research and production processes of Symptomatic Silence of Complicit Forgetting. Titled The wedding, Burning books, Magic show, Nine phases, Study and Criticism, these sketches source their imagery and style from archival images, classical mythological illustration, and lianhuanhua (comic strips) from the Cultural Revolution era.
The Interrogation / 2017
Roleplay / 2016