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DONG Wensheng

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Chinese Garden

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Dong Wensheng’s conceptual photography uses the natural and architectural elements of Chinese Gardens and other natural landscapes as a stage setting to insert objects the viewer does not expect to see.

Framed by background lighting, the artist creates an almost magical space for the viewer to contemplate beauty, intimacy, mystery and engage in a deeper philosophical consideration of the value of life.

Dong takes a traditional subject and implants into it animals and people in a variety of poses – two boys tussle, a couple have sex, a person lies tangled in the jagged rock. The artist states: “This kind of mysterious and transcendental can easily cause a viewer or viewers to have different interpretations so that spectators can argue or even face confusion in addition to aesthetics. This is what I want.” (In conversation with Zhu Qi, p.7 Dong Wensheng’s Video and Photography – The Moment of Rock Sinking, solo exhibition, 2006)

Dong Wensheng believes these traditional gardens he knew as a child should be preserved, especially the historical significance of excavating the precious age-worn Taihu or “skeleton stone” for landscape design.

Dong’s Quiet Room (2005) series transplants elements from outside - rocks, wood, birds and deer, indoors giving them a new sculptural quality. The artist has “isolat[ed] these quiet objects from nature and collaps[ed] the experienced embargo on two dimensional aspects, time and experience”. (June, ‘Landscapes at Heart’, p. 9 Dong Wensheng’s Video and Photography – The Moment of Rock Sinking, solo exhibition, 2006).

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