Billboard, 170x300cm, 2004

In terms of visual form and content, this outdoor advertising onslaught is not unlike the big character posters (“Da zi bao”) posted by competing factions and littering city streets in China during the Cultural Revolution. In the past the streets were hung with posters in fights over political beliefs. Now the struggle is over financial power and business gain. Ads for items are like psoriasis found everywhere on our city streets. This same theme has been followed by later projects, like “China Red”(2009) and “Debacle” (2009) in the form of site-specific installation.

In “Billboard” (170x300cm, 2004), I continue my investigation of the power of ads and commercial images. I reproduce a huge billboard that reads "Art Works of Wang Qingsong" in gigantic bold letters, in homage to the huge advertising signboards that line the second and third ring roads around Beijing. Life goes on, under the shadow of these huge billboards. We can see some passers-by reading these gigantic ads while others pay no attention at all. Instead, they play chess, buy vegetables, or otherwise carry on with their day-to-day activities. Do we recreate our lives to follow the images depicted in the ads?  How much power do these words exert on our mind and eye? I am interested in this physical and mental space that lies somewhere in between advertisements and reality.

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