2018.12.06 - 2018.12.09
12:00 PM - 08:00 PM
Wang Shang has been simultaneously pursuing a career as an artist and as a jeweler. Both practices root deep in his fascination with geology and natural history, which he sees as the absurd foundation for human civilization. Following his presentation at Art Basel Statements in 2017 with a body of artificial-rock-form sculptures challenging the ideal of “harmony between human and nature”, Wang Shang’s work for Positions further examines the corundum of belief and human value in relation to their origin in the illogical natural history.
Continuing appropriating imagery and forms from geology, at Position Wang Shang presents three works of different mediums all relate to gems. “Nanodes Medusae” is a painting of jewelry of Wang Shang’s own design. In the painting the details of jewelry are fragmented and reconstructed to form a repetitive pattern. With the wall-size scale of the painting, the pattern recalls traditional architectural ornament design, whose themes are often ideological subjects such as idealized image of nature, religion or significant historical events. For Wang Shang the painting alludes to the fictional value of gems, but instead of a simple critical rejection, he intends the painting to confront the difficult choice between artificial value and the total lack of meaning and concept of the natural world, in which gems are not elevated and nothing is ever differentiated.
In his film “Bullet Chamber”, which uses gems as a plot device of a gamble game, an astronaut and a sailor engages in a duel of Russian roulette. Rather then eagerly escaping the deadly situation at the point of one man’s death, the film depicts a man obsessed with the game to the point that he continues the game with himself even after his opponent is dead. Wang Shang wants to touch on how man often relies on rules and systems to act, however alienating and absurd the way we experiencing them. The film suggests that rather than longing for a escape from ideology, human are often willingly seduced by the constructed meaning and fictional concept.
Along with these two different representations of gems, in a cabinet Wang Shang displays an actual jewelry of his design - a piece of item from another career he has been pursuing for 10 years. Wang Shang regards the interplay of his two roles – artist and jeweler – as a personal effort in navigating his own life in the world of different systems of artificial meanings and values. While his art addresses the conundrum of inanity of nature and the artificiality of human value, he chooses to develop his careers as a result of his obsession with this riddle.