Ai Weiwei, Wang Xingwei, Ding Yi: Persona 3

When 12 Jan 2012 - 25 Feb 2012
Where Chambers Fine Art
522 West 19th Street
New York, NY 10011
United States

Installation view. Courtesy of the artists and Chambers Fine Art

January 12 – February 25 2012

Opening Reception: January 12, 6 – 8pm

Press Release:

Chambers Fine Art is pleased to announce the opening on January 12, 2012 of Persona 3, a cooperative work by Ai Weiwei, Wang Xingwei and Ding Yi. First exhibited in Beijing in 2004, Persona 3 is an audacious experiment in which the three artists agreed temporarily to exchange artistic profiles in a demonstration of their mutual admiration for the Chinese art scholar Hans van Dijk who had died in 2002. Resident in China since 1986, van Dijk was actively involved in the documentation and promotion of contemporary Chinese art at a particularly important time in its development.

As described by Britta Erickson: “Mature artists with widely recognized signature styles, Ai Weiwei, Ding Yi, and Wang Xingwei resolved to turn the iconic nature of each unique body of work on its head. Each artist would produce works of art to be exhibited as the creations of the others. This exercise required serious stretching of both artistic imagination and technical skills, and it was brought off with great aplomb….. Each artist worked in great secrecy, revealing the works to one another only immediately prior to the installation of the exhibition. It was a challenge among the three artists, to fathom the depths of each other’s artistic approach, and then to capture that spirit in concrete form.”

For this exercise, Ai Weiwei produced Appearance of Crosses, a sculptural form in iron that is derived from Ding Yi’s series of paintings Series of Crosses on which he had been working since 1988. One of the very few abstract painters to have emerged with the remarkable growth of contemporary Chinese art in the 1990s, Ding Yi narrowed the focus of his investigations to the repetition of cross forms in endless variations and on a wide variety of supports including ready-made fabrics such as tartans. In deciding to perforate a sheet of iron with rows of crosses, Ai Weiwei produced a sculpture of the type that Ding Yi might have produced if he had ever decided to work in three dimensions.

Known for his ironic use of a naturalistic painting style to comment on a wide variety of social and cultural issues, Wang Xingwei chose to channel Ai Weiwei in his Long Ring Tea-Table, a circular rosewood table supported at an angle by two legs. Unlike Ai Weiwei who uses furniture and architectural members surviving from the Ching dynasty and later in his ongoing series of three-dimensional works in wood, Wang Xingwei designed a circular table that does not resemble earlier forms and the Shanghai-based carpenters who executed it used new wood.

For Morning in Shanghai, painted in oil on corrugated board in the style of Wang Xingwei, Ding Yi reverted to the representational style that he had abandoned with the emergence of his signature abstract style in 1988. As in his own works which are frequently characterized by their composite nature, Ding Yi juxtaposes four sections of board in his dramatic Shanghai cityscape in which the celebrated buildings on the Bund are dwarfed by new developments in Pudong.

Enriching the artistic dialog between these three old friends in their hybrid creations will be works by Wang Xingwei and Ding Yi on loan from the Uli Sigg collection as well as by Ai Weiwei in which the artists speak in their own voices.

For more information please click here.