Wang Bing solo exhibition at Museo Reina Sofía, Spain

Dispossessed Lives. Resilient Lives
Exhibition dates: 2018.10.04 - 2018.11.17
Exhibition venue: Sabatini Building, Auditorium and Filmoteca Española, Cine Doré

Film-maker Wang Bing portrays people who have been excluded in China’s recent economic transformation with rare beauty and uncompromising severity, focusing on those who have been disowned by the system and experience untold cruelty on a daily basis, people who cling to life as an extreme act of resistance and dignity. In the first comprehensive retrospective on one of today’s pivotal directors, the Museo Reina Sofía and Filmoteca Española will screen the entirety of Wang Bing’s films and film installations, scarcely exhibited or shown due to their extreme running times. Moreover, the series features the film-maker’s first lecture in Spain, along with two premieres on Spanish soil and another international premiere. 

Wang Bing puts forward a profound consideration of history, the paradoxes of industrial ruin and the suffering caused by the inexorable ‘progress’ in modern China in his work, taking the cinema verité ideal of observing reality to the extreme to reach a new and profound radicalism. By and large, his films, shot covertly with digital film equipment, possess a cinematic intensity that is at once beautiful and tragic with respect to the power of a world dominated by a decaying industrial infrastructure and landscapes ruined by exploitation. For months on end, he cuts himself off, living with the people he is filming as he searches for a way to transform the material conditions and temporality of their lives into allegories of a present shaped by accumulation and systemic dispossession. Frenzied construction, land transformed for energy production, the ambition and greed of the repressed, memory in a time of developmentalist amnesia and survival in the harshest conditions, these are all themes from an anonymous and contemporary history that Wang Bing masterfully captures.