Exhibition | « Wang Bing: Memories »
In his very first exhibition in Luxembourg, the acclaimed Chinese filmmaker Wang Bing puts memory in relation to history by retracing personal recollections of the Anti-Rightist Campaign or the Cultural Revolution of 20th century China. Its collective memory is expressed through three individual stories and four films, selected in close collaboration with the artist. The exhibition, in coherence with Wang Bing’s modus operandi, adopts a minimalist approach by showing a concise excerpt of his body of work on mono screen, allowing the audience to experience and focus on the powerful, concentrated, and extensive content of the work.
Memory in the work of Wang Bing is expressed through individual recalling of a collective past, through one-on-one encounters with his subjects. Where individual destinies evoke the fated destinies of many millions, the personal becomes political, the individual becomes societal.
In Mrs. Fang, Wang Bing transgresses the boundaries of cinema by filming the last ten days of Fang Xiuying, a former farm worker suffering from severe Alzheimer symptoms. Eyes wide open, unable to speak, to eat, to move, to communicate nor to set boundaries, the is slowly dying in extreme pain, surrounded by family and neighbours who drink, eat, gamble, leave to go fish or smoke, until the event of death provokes silence.
Wang Xilin unveils the utterly painful marks that Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution of left on his body, mind, and soul. Over the course of his life, he captured his memories of prison, torture, death, dehumanisation, agony, and persecution in his symphonies, which made him one of the most important modern Chinese composers. Man in Black is a biographical one-on-one encounter with the stripped composer, set in the historical Théâtre de Bouffes du Nord in Paris.
In Fengming, a Chinese memoir, the horrors of recent Chinese history are revealed to the audience through the heartbreaking story of an elderly woman’s life in the People’s Republic of China, confided in over three hours of monologue. She is addressing her engagement and hope as a young communist journalist, the anti-rightist campaign, the silencing, humiliation, suicidal thoughts, the omnipresence of hunger, the life-or-death struggle in the re-education through labour camps, and especially Jiabiangou, where she lost her husband.
In July 2005, Wang Bing visited the Gobi Desert with a 35 mm camera held in his hand. He walks at a fast pace, through the fields that used to be the infamous anti-rightist re-education through labour camp Jiabiangou, where many thousands of deportees died of starvation, capturing traces of human lives – quilts, blankets, bones, Traces of people’s work, life, and death, remnants of an abandoned past.
For the past twenty years, Wang Bing has been an independent filmmaker and chronologist of contemporary China, caught between a sorrowful past and an image of the future, documenting its unofficial and hidden history, sometimes spending hundreds of hours filming in places such as mental asylums or factories. Through his minimalist approach, his patience, concentration, and dedication, he strives for the truth and closeness to real life, which he transmits in his long-durational and monumental work.
Wang Bing was born in Xi’an, China, in 1967. He has studied at the Lu Xun Academy of Fine Arts and then at the Beijing Film Academy (BFA). He lives and works between France and China.
With special thanks to: Wang Bing, Lihong Kong, Wil Productions, Gladys Glover Films, Galerie Chantal Crousel, Goodman Gallery London.
Opening the 8 February 2024, at 6pm – Free entry, no registration required
From 29 February to 10 March 2024, the 14th Luxembourg City Film Festival will focus on the work of the Chinese artist and film director Wang Bing. This focus will include an exhibition at the Ratskeller, a masterclass and the screening of Youth (Spring). The full programme will be available on www.luxfilmfest.lu in February.
In March 2024, a focus on Wang Bing’s work is to be seen at the Cinémathèque of the City of Luxembourg. Find all information on the screenings as well as the full programme on the Cinémathèque’s website and on their Facebook and Instagram pages.
With the support of
Luxembourg City Film Festival
Les Films Fauves
Free Admission / Free Entry
Guided tour every saturday at 3pm