REVIEW: Wang Qingsong/Detroit/Beijing

The corner, glass exhibit of the UMMA always holds something new and exciting. Watching it change from season to season is a small way that tired students passing by can experience a little bit of art. When the giant moon balloon was deflated and taken away bright, Chinese writing began appearing on the glass. Like many of my classmates, I was curious what lay inside and took time to venture inside. The Wang Qingsong/Detroit/Beijing exhibit is a recreation of a 1959 drawing by Wang Shikuo. This drawing told the narrative of peasants uprising against their landlord and claiming their rights to the land. Qingsong’s photography project recreates this narrative in Highland Park, a small city in the heart of Detroit. The project was originally meant to be recognized in Beijing but after visiting Michigan the artist was inspired. The exhibit itself features the final photograph and components of the journey to creating it. The Chinese phrases on the glass walls are taken from banners featured in the photograph while the two garments in the center of the room are also featured in the photograph. One garment is a coat in a traditional Chinese style but the fabric is made from a patchwork of American and Chinese clothing tags. The other garment is the bloodstained shirt featured at the center of the photograph. The project is meant to create unity between the communities of Detroit and Beijing in a conversation about capitalism and activism. The photograph is set in an abandoned Highland Park factory and features over 70 volunteers including locals. My favorite aspect of the exhibit was the coat made of tags. It was a great detail that really accentuated the power of consumerism on society.

One thought to “REVIEW: Wang Qingsong/Detroit/Beijing”

  1. I really loved this show as well! The process photographs were really interesting to showcase, and the artifacts from the shoot, too. Great review!

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