Magazine article Artforum International

Wang Du: Vancouver Art Gallery

Magazine article Artforum International

Wang Du: Vancouver Art Gallery

Article excerpt

A cartoon in three-dimensional form, Paris-based Chinese expatriate Wang Du's recent exhibition at Vancouver Art Gallery took the form of a misshapen array of bellicose and lascivious golems cultivated from Chinese military propaganda, Internet porn, and the Western print media. Titled "Parade," it was timely and well placed, the port of Vancouver being a gateway to Asia that, like North America as a whole, confronts the rising economic behemoth of China with a mixture of anticipation and anxiety.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Du uses polyester resin and acrylic to flesh out his pop-cultural sources and often introduces radical distortions of scale and perspective in the process. The quartet of identical eight-and-a-half-foot-tall female giants, based on an upskirt shot from a Japanese website, that welcomed visitors to Enter!, 2004, is a typical example of his exaggerated approach. Two walls of the gallery were papered floor-to-ceiling with a digital print of a screenshot of the site, with the image of the model that Du used as his source removed, leaving a white silhouette. In a spectacle more imposing than enticing, the purple-toned figures' oversized rears, atop trunklike legs, were thrust toward the gallery's entrances.

Another room contained Defile (Parade), 2000, a forty-foot-long plinth crowded with a jumble of carefully sculpted yet somehow still-malformed Chinese armaments, military vehicles, and soldiers, fronted by a sculpture of a young male student aiming a slingshot. Scattered like propaganda leaflets across the plinth and floor are photocopies taken from Chinese newspapers and military journals. Containing the source images for the main part of Defile, these account for the sculpture's loopy proportions: Du translated the cropping and perspectival distortion of each picture into solid form. …

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