… is from observing to getting involved.
Beijing-based artist Wen Fang has become especially famous for her works combining photography with bricks. One of her best-known works is the The Golden Brick, a series of six installations from 2008 focusing on various aspects of the social conditions of contemporary China – like migrant workers, values in contemporary urban China, rapid changes in Beijing and their side effects or increasing inequalities within society.
The works that make up another multi-part piece, Birthday Present (2009), explore events that affected China in 2008, for example, the Olympic Games, the earthquake in Sichuan province, and the scandal of tainted milk, as well as questions about climate change, environmental pollution, and globalization. This critical approach can be found throughout her œuvre, but in a very subtle way. And she always refers to the culture she is rooted in.
In her project Arts for Crafts Sake Wen Fang moves one step further with her art, relinquishing the perspective of an outsider who only observes and comments on situations and circumstances of daily life; instead, she gets directly involved with the life of people concerned.
In my article for Yishu Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art I described her art project with women from Ningxia province which she started in 2010 – focusing on traditional handiwork, especially embroidery, which she still uses in some of her recent works.