Wang Du (b. 1956), an artist born in Hubei province, China and having lived under Mao Zedong’s leadership, creates works that reflect upon an era of tightly controlled media, which persists in current times and in different forms around the world. Wang exhibited in China Avant-garde (1989), the controversial exhibition that opened just before the Tiananmen democracy protests and was shut down by the Beijing police. He was arrested and imprisoned for nine months after speaking out against corruption, then subsequently left for France in 1990. Although Wang draws from his experiences as part of a diaspora of Chinese artists living outside of the country, his work does not discriminate against any particular geographical region; rather, he delivers a cynical view on the mechanisms of all media and its global control over individual perceptions of reality. By deconstructing the formal qualities of media, such as its shape, size, and medium, Wang removes its sense of legitimacy and power, and invites viewer scrutiny in order to return autonomous thinking to the individual. His reproductions of two-dimensional images in three-dimensional form often feature warped proportions to emphasize the singular perspective – bias – of the photographer and, accordingly, the media industry itself.
“Are the media the nerves of reality? With their ubiquity, their absolute power and their ability to infiltrate, the media influences the thinking and behavior of people at all levels of society.”