Joy Wai Gallery proudly presents VITRIO, an exhibition by Finnish photographer SAANA WANG, featuring a series of photographs from her visits to China, from 2007 to the present.
Distances have shrank,
but I feel so far.
“Beijing airport. I am on the move searching for a free seat.
There are hundreds of people around me. A woman starts to cry.
She cries from a very deep place, filling the room with her pain.
I stop. I see her man reaching to her, holding her.
She is about to faint.
The man looks like something terrible has happened.
She moans again, loudly, no words are said.
I stand there. Now I hear the words: «My son!».I look at the people.
The seating area is still.
I want to approach her and hug her. But then my legs don’t move.
Like the other people around me, I freeze. I don’t do a thing.
From that moment on her voice is with me.”
Wang’s work does not constitute an attempt at commentary or description. Her approach is simply informed by questions, mostly pertaining to distance and time, and, rather than representations, her work consists of constructions guided by a deep curiosity and desire to understand.
The word “China” has become a portmanteau of sorts in American vernacular: it covers aspects that are still very foreign to most and translate into an imagery often bound by strict conventions. However, China’s everyday realities are also a complex and fluid mixture of the sublime and the horrible, a tension between the gritty and the beautiful on a scale both micro and macroscopic.
Wang’s work takes viewers into that context of painful equilibrium and blinding disequilibrium, into an almost subterranean world, where elements of threat, strangeness and abjection form a vital if disquieting undercurrent.
CARMINA FIGURATA: VITRIO is the first of a series of exhibitions that will be presented by the gallery as part of a larger artistic journey entitled, Carmina Figurata, which will explore visual arts as poetic form, as well as the value of the elegiac in the contemporary moment.
Born in Helsinki in 1979, SAANA WANG currently lives and works in New York. Her work has been presented in multiple solo and group exhibitions throughout Europe, Asia and USA.
Exhibitions: “Letters of Olana,” New York Public Library (part of the FEC Award Gala 2012); “ReGeneration 2,” International emerging photographer touring exhibition at Les Rencontres d ́Arles (FR), Le Musée de l ́Elysée in Lausanne (CH) and Aperture Foundation NYC (USA); “Hujialou” in Helsinki North by New York, New Nordic
Art, Scandinavian House, 2011; “Photography and Video NOW,” Group Show at the Helsinki and City Art Museum and at The National Museum of Photography in Copenhagen; (DEN)Art Fairs: Presented by TaiK Art at Paris Photo 08, Art Form Berlin 08, Daegu Photo Biennale Korea; among others.
Books: “ReGeneration 2 – Tomorrow’s Photographers Today,” published by Thames and Hudson;
Awards: Trieste photo prize “ITS#8 Mini Clubman Photo” (IT), 2009.
WANG’S WORK HAS BEEN PUBLISHED IN THE CATALOGUE, “HELSINKI SCHOOL VOL. 3: YOUNG PHOTOGRAPHY BY TAIK,” AS WELL AS IN
“HELSINKI SCHOOL VOL. 4: A FEMALE VIEW,” PUBLISHED BY HATJE CANTZ.
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Rachel Lee Hovnanian, Leila Heller Gallery, September 2014
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