conceptual art

Wang Luyan

China 1956

Installation, Sculpture, Conceptual Art, Painting

Wang Luyan
Wang Luyan
March 2, 2015

Wang Luyan is a Chinese conceptual artist. Trained as a mechanical engineer, the artist is known for his highly critical artworks of China’s newly competitive, materialistic society.

Born in 1956, Luyan was actively engaged in China’s avant-garde art movement since the late 1970s, and deeply involved with the New Measurement Group, a three-member initiative of Conceptual artists that existed from 1988 to 1995. The founding of the group was spurred on by the fascination these artists had for Western philosophies – an interest they shared with many others throughout China – after experiencing decades of intellectual suppression under Mao. Introducing the rules of analytic geometry into their practice, the New Measurement Group explored the possibilities of communicating experiences and perceptions through quantities and measurements as opposed to erratic individuality. When the group eventually disbanded, its members destroyed all the documents and materials relating to their practice in a fire, preferring to maintain its legacy conceptually.

After the political unrest experienced in 1989 the country was steered onto the fast track of mindlessly pursuing economic development, leaving little room or appreciation for non-pragmatic thinking and cultural discussion. During that time Western influences and market forces practically hijacked the dominant narrative within Chinese contemporary art, promoting a homogeneous practice that thrived on formulaic and graphic reiterations of China’s revolutionary past and political reality, and excluded multifaceted, in-depth investigations of art itself. ‘It was just meaningless to show works without the right context’, Wang concluded.

The context Wang yearned for – an open and diversifying art scene – has been slowly emerging in China since the turn of the millennium, thanks to growing national and economic power and confidence.

A trained mechanical engineer, Wang Luyan’s individual practice has stemmed from his fascination with mechanical design but more importantly, the potential complex and paradoxical relationship of all kinds as embodied in the intricate makeup of machinery. In his series of minimalist paintings and masculine mechanical sketches, Wang Luyan exposes the inner designs of sawing machines, guns, tanks, screws, wristwatches, scissors, and bicycles and incorporates his alterations and manipulations into these designs to suggest thorny international political relationships as well as more general situations where forces from all sides contain and implicate each other.

The initiation of a contradictory setup into the intrinsic system of these devices becomes a trademark of Wang’s designs, which are all branded as ‘W’, after the first letter in his family name. Weapons whose bullets flew in both directions could harm not only those they are aimed at, but those who fired them as well, wristwatches with an extra set of hour and minute hands or wheels whose movements confining one another no longer indicate valid time, but inconsolable paradoxes.

His works have been presented in collective and solo exhibitions in China and internationally.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumGroup/Solo
2013Wang Luyan: Diagramming AllegoryMusee de I’Elysee, Lausanne, SwitzerlandSolo
2013Kata Legrady & Wang Luyan: DoublethinkHong Kong Arts Centre, Pekin Fine Arts, Hong KongGroup
2012Paradox: Political FableThe University Of Chicago Beijing Center, Beijing, ChinaSolo
2012Shanghai Sculpture Programme – Life LatitudeShanghai oil painting & sculpture institute, Shanghai, ChinaGroup
2012FaceShanghai Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai, ChinaGroup
2012The First XinJiang BiennaleXinJiang Art Center, XinJiang, ChinaGroup
2012The Seventh Shenzhen Sculpture BiennaleOCT Contemporary Art Terminal, Shenzhen, ChinaGroup
2011Wang LuyanGallery RX, Paris, FranceSolo
2011Moutains beyond moutains - Sanqingshan contemporary Art International ExhibitionYue Art Museum, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2011Start from the horizon - Chinese Contemporary Sculpture Since 1978Si Shang Art Museum, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2011Group PortraitEastation Gallery, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2011Unable Absence- Winshare contemporary art displayWinshare Museum, Chengdu, ChinaGroup
2011UCCA-VISON Exhibition on paper Series1: TrespassUCCA, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2010Wang LuyanTotal Museum, Seoul, South KoreaSolo
2010Moonshin International Sculpture SymposiumMoonshin, KoreaGroup
2010Qiaozi Art Commune Arts FestivalBeijing, ChinaGroup
2010Busan Biennale 2010—NowBusan, KoreaGroup
2010State of Things--Exhibition for the Contemporary Art Exchange between China and BelgiumNational Art Museum of China, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2010Glass FactoryIberia Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2010Asian LandmarkIberia Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2010Contemporary Art of China and JapanBusan Mnseum of Art, Busan, KoreaGroup
2010Community Of Tastes - The Chinese Contemporary Art since 2000Museum of the Contemporary Art, Santiago, ChileGroup
2010The Tao Of NowThe White Rabbit Gallery, Sydney, AustraliaGroup
2009Wang LuyanGallery 604, Busan, South KoreaSolo
2009State of Things - Exhibition of the Contemporary Art Exchange between China and BelgiumRoyal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels, BelgiumGroup
2009IndividualJoyArt, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2009Yi Pai - Century ThinkingToday Museum, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2008Wang Luyan: The Other Side of TotalityJoyArt, Beijing, ChinaSolo
2008Consumption of HistoryEast Asia contemporary, Shanghai, ChinaGroup
2008Community of TastesIberia Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2008Our Future: The Guy & Myriam Ullens Foundation CollectionUllens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2008Notes of Conception: A local Narrative of Chinese Contemporary PaintingIberia Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2008Suspended in Space, Drifting on SurfaceLinda Gallery, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2008ExpenditureBusan Biennale 2008, Busan, KoreaGroup
2008Reflective Asia - 3rd Nanjing TriennialNanjing Museum, Nanjing, ChinaGroup
2008Yi PaiArt Center of Caixa Forum, Barcelona, Madrid, Mallorca, SpainGroup
2008Koger Pfund and Wang Luyan - De Bon (ne) HeureELLITA Contemporary, Zurich, SwitzerlandGroup
2008Apartment Art in China 1970s - 1990sShui Mu Art space, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2008Charm of Art - Collection of Chinese Contemporary ArtsToday Museum, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2008Chinese FantasyFound Museum, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2007Sawing or Being Sawed?Arario Beijing, Beijing, ChinaSolo
2007Sawing or Being Sawed?He Xiangning Art Museum, OCT Contemporary Art Terminal, Shenzhen, ChinaSolo
2007Energy: Spirit Body Material - The First Today’s Documents 2007Today Art Museum, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2007Forms of Concepts: 1987 - 2007 The Conceptual Transformation of Chinese Contemporary Art- The Second Documentary Exhibition of Fine ArtsCenter for Documentary Exhibition of Fine Arts, Hubei Museum, Wuhan, ChinaGroup
2007New Wave - The Birth of Chinese Contemporary ArtUllens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2007The Temperament of DetailThe Red Mansion Foundation, London, UKGroup
2006Hyper – Design - 6th Shanghai BiennaleShanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, ChinaGroup
2006Create History: Commemoration Exhibition of Chinese Modern Art in 1980sOCT Contemporary Art Terminal, Shenzhen, ChinaGroup
2006Jiang HuJack Tilton Gallery, New York, USAGroup
2006Plato and His Seven SpiritsOCT Contemporary Art Terminal, Shenzhen, ChinaGroup
2005Convergence at E116 - N40-Beijing 2005 International Contemporary Art Exhibition798 Dayaolu Workshop, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2005Interval: China Contemporary Art ExhibitionHI - Shanghai LOFT, Shanghai, ChinaGroup
2005Banana SurferIEUM Gallery, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2004Left Hand, Right Hand798 Dayaolu Workshop, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2004Moving On: Contemporary Chinese Art at NUS MuseumsLee Kong Chian Art Museum, NUS Museums, SingaporeGroup
2002The First Guangzhou Triennial - Reinterpretation: A Decade of Experimental Chinese Art (1990 - 2000)Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, ChinaGroup
2000The Third annual Contemporary Sculpture ExhibitionHe Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen, ChinaGroup
2000In & Out: Contemporary Chinese Art from China and AustraliaHe Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen, ChinaGroup
2000In & Out: Contemporary Chinese Art from China and AustraliaAustralian Embassy, Beijing, ChinaGroup
1998Inside Out: New Chinese ArtAsia Society and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, USAGroup
1996The 2nd Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary ArtQueensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, AustraliaGroup
1996The First Academic Exhibition of Contemporary Chinese ArtThe Art Gallery of CapitalNormal University, Beijing, ChinaGroup
1995Uecker Sends a Letter to BeijingNew Berlin Art Society (NBK), Berlin, GermanyGroup
1995Configura 2 Dialog der KulturenGalerk am Fischmarkt, Erfurt, GermanyGroup
1995From the Middle Kingdom: Chinese Avant - garde ArtSanta Monica Art Centre, Barcelona, SpainGroup
1994Beijing contemporary art ExhibitionThe Art Gallery of CapitalNormal University, Beijing, ChinaGroup
1993China New Art Exhibition - Post 1989 (1979-1989)Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong KongGroup
1993Silent Energy: New Art from ChinaMuseum of Modern Art Oxford, Oxford, UKGroup
1991Exceptional Passage - China Avant - garde Artists ExhibitionFukuoka, JapanGroup
1989China Modern Art ExhibitionNational Art Museum of China, Beijing, ChinaGroup
1979Stars Art ExhibitionNational Art Museum of China, Beijing ChinaGroup