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Wang Jin, A Chinese Dream, 2006. Photo by Catalina Ayubi Photography.
Wang Jin, A Chinese Dream, 2006. Detail. Photo by Catalina Ayubi Photography.

Wang Jin 王晋

Chinese, born 1962

Artist Profile

Wang Jin’s many performance and environmental projects since the early 1990s reflect upon the rapid spread of capitalism in China, as well as other social and political issues. Wang’s incisive works comment on the clash and fusion of new and old values by staging ironic combinations of foreign and Chinese symbols.

Originally created for one of the first domestic auctions of contemporary art in Beijing in 1997, A Chinese Dream faithfully reproduces Peking Opera costumes and imperial robes of the Qing dynasty using translucent PVC plastic sheets. The imperial robes and theatrical costumes levitate like specters of a bygone age. Such garments traditionally bear encoded symbols, such as five-clawed dragons representing the imperial house, or the multicolored waves, rocks, and clouds that present the universe under the ruler’s sway.

Here, rich silks, golden threads, and opulent brocades are replaced with a common industrial material, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic. Wang’s choice to reproduce both imperial and theatrical attire underscores the dichotomy of the authentic and fake; the vague, Orientalizing title, Chinese Dream, alludes to the commercialization of tradition. Worn as part of the artist’s performance piece, Dream of China No. 2, these robes take on new meaning in the contemporary context.

Works on View

Wrightwood 659

A Chinese Dream, 2006

Polyvinyl chloride and vinyl filament
67 x 82 1/2 x 5 in. (170.2 x 209.5 x 12.7 cm)

Private collection, New York

Wang Jin, A Chinese Dream, 2006. Installation view at Wrightwood 659.
Wang Jin, A Chinese Dream, 2006. Installation view at Wrightwood 659.
Wrightwood 659

The Dream of China: Dragon Robe, 1997

Polyvinyl chloride and vinyl filament
71 x 78 x 15 in. (180.3 x 198.1 x 38.1 cm)

The Farber Collection

Wang Jin, The Dream of China: Dragon Robe, 1997. Installation view at Wrightwood 659.
Wang Jin, The Dream of China: Dragon Robe, 1997. Installation view at Wrightwood 659.
Wrightwood 659

Chinese Dream, 2006

Polyvinyl chloride, vinyl filament, iron chain, and hook
67 x 82 1/2 x 5 in. (170.2 x 210 x 12.7 cm)

Pizzuti Collection

Wang Jin, Chinese Dream, 2006. Installation view at Wrightwood 659.
Wang Jin, Chinese Dream, 2006. Installation view at Wrightwood 659.
Wrightwood 659

Dream of China No. 2, 1998

Black-and-white photograph
50 13/16 × 38 3/16 in. (129 × 97 cm)

Courtesy of Pékin Fine Arts

Wang Jin, Dream of China No. 2, 1998. Photo courtesy of Pékin Fine Arts.
Wang Jin, Dream of China No. 2, 1998. © Wang Jin. Photo courtesy of Pékin Fine Arts.
Wang Jin, A Chinese Dream, 1997. Installation view, the Long Corridor of the Summer Palace near Beijing, 1997. Photo courtesy of Pékin Fine Arts.
Wang Jin, A Chinese Dream, 1997. Installation view, the Long Corridor of the Summer Palace near Beijing, 1997. Photo courtesy of Pékin Fine Arts.
Installation view, The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China at Wrightwood 659.
Installation view, The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China at Wrightwood 659.