Gallery TAIK is delighted to present the first solo exhibition of Finnish artist Saana Wang in Berlin. The exhibition "Hujialou" presents works of the corresponding series by the Helsinki School artist from 2008/2009.
The works of Saana Wang are a captivating combination of documentary and staged photography. In her series "Hujialou" - that refers to the same named district in the east part of Beijing - she depicts decrepit interiors that tell about past times. At the same time the artist documents the rapid changes of urban scenery when capturing the residencies that were once built for the working-class and followed the idea of conformance.
Having the inhabitants of these buildings posed rnwith masks on their faces, Wang indicates in her pictures aspects of rnsocial and cultural development in contemporary Chinese society. "Neon lights glow in the dark in tones of green and blue. It is my rnfirst night in Beijing, the year is 1991. All the determinants of time rnand place have become contracted. What is near is near, but not because rnof the shortness of distance - what is near may in fact be distant. My rneyes roam around walls worn by time" writes Wang in her personal rnstatement about the series.rn
Time in its historic dimension is of special interest to the artist. rnThe different layers of time that can be determined in Wang´s works are rnmerged in her depictions on one level. When implementing typical rnelements of the famous Beijing Opera in surroundings of the past rncommunist era and adding traces of the contemporary Saana Wang creates rntheatre like stages. In relation to the traditional opera that works by rnsymbolic rather than realistic means whilst being arranged in sparsely rnsettings, the protagonists in Wang´s fictional plays seem to narrate rntheir lore of the past. Yet the individuality of each character is rntransformed to work on a more comprehensive level. Even though the rnartist encourages her models to express themselves by choosing their ownrn distinct poses, their individuality is being concealed by facial masks.rn By working with those stereotypes Saana Wang portrays social and rncultural contradictions that cohere when tradition and rapid rntransformations collide. The tension between the multiple layers in her rnpictorial compositions creates an interesting ambiguity that alludes to rntoday´s societal progression.rn
-Jenny Rosemarie Mannhardt