For the 2018 edition of West Bund Art & Design, Capsule Shanghai is pleased to present “Cyborg Dates” - a corporeal coupling of works from American artist Douglas Rieger, here at his debut in China, and Chinese artist Wang Haiyang.
The exhibition, co-curated by artist Sarah Faux, features a group of Rieger’s anthropomorphic sculptures and a selection of Wang’s pastel works paired with their latest animated version.
As humans use technology to animate the inanimate, they lose parts of their humanity to machines. The cyborg, half-human and half-machine, embodies the union of the familiar and the extraordinary. Both artists offer contemporary takes on the notion that machines are inherently part of our nature, our psyche and the way we operate. The artificially animated cyborg is therefore not merely a creation, but a creator in its own right.
Through his sculptures, Rieger hints at the “human” nature of objects, a quality conveyed in the way they move, twist, extend and ultimately perish. Rieger constructs a visual narrative that places the sculpture as an anthropomorphic entity, psychologically filled with its operator’s aspirations, desires and inner dialogue (Part Indefinitely, 2018). In order to invoke both seductiveness and repulsion, Rieger balances the materials in a restless play between natural and artificial, polished and raw. He then carefully choreographs the space between every piece in a way that suggests a gravitational attraction and semiotic rhymes between them. Wang’s pastel works on paper capture the mechanical essence of human movement that is revealed when individual gestures are decontextualized and distilled into one frame. His otherworldly scenarios, almost verging on the abstract, unveil truths around the human experience and transplant a surrealist sensibility into a contemporary context. Animated on the new short video entitled The Birth of the Word, to the Demise of the Bird (2014-2018), these works on paper construct a storyline that, just when the viewer thinks of watching a clear statement of cause and effect, suddenly becomes very shifty. Creating rifts between expectations and reality, this eclectic collection of different mediums is tied together by whimsical imagination, Freudian slips and dreamlike language.