A leading figure in documentary cinema, Wang Bing’s boundary-pushing films witness the accelerated transformation of China’s landscape with a deep sense of intimacy and sincerity. He has been working outside of China’s film industry since the beginning of his career, always shooting alone or with a very small crew. His films offer unsparing looks at the everyday lives and struggles of people living on the margins of Chinese society. The resilience of the human spirit is at the heart of each of these works, opening up timely existential and socio-economic questions. With a bold, uncompromising approach to cinematic form, Wang Bing’s singular body of work is testament to a rare tenacity of vision that continues to expand how the medium can represent human lives and histories.
This Pioneers film series surveys the artist’s filmic portraits of labour and remote survival, as well as his dedicated examination of a suppressed chapter of Chinese history. The programme marks the first London screenings of Man with No Name and the monumental West of the Tracks in its entirety, and includes an artist talk in which Wang Bing will share his 2014 video Traces for the first time in the UK.
There are no fixed rules or policies about what you should or should not do with cinema. So I always try to keep an open mind: for me, the film image is a recording of the reality of human existence in a given historical, socio-economic and political context, but at the same time it contains emotions, beauty, something more abstract that is perhaps Art.
This Pioneers film series is programmed in parallel with the UK premiere of Dead Souls at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, 27–28 November 2018.
Wang Bing (b.1967, China) is a filmmaker and artist whose work has shaped the fields of documentary film and video installation. His films have screened at international film festivals the world over, and have been presented in dedicated retrospectives at Centre Pompidou, Paris; Reina Sofia and Filmoteca, Madrid; Documenta 14, Kassel; AV Festival, Newcastle; and Courtisane Festival, Gent, among others. His work has been included in exhibitions at Kunsthalle, Zurich; EYE Film Institute Netherlands, Amsterdam; Centre Pompidou, Paris; CCA Wattis Institute, San Francisco; Shanghai Biennale; Documenta 14; and C.A.F.A. Art Museum, Beijing. Wang Bing is recipient of the 2017 Golden Leopard at Locarno International Film Festival, the 2017 EYE Art and Film prize, the 2012 Venice Horizons Best Feature, 2016 Venice Horizons Best Screenplay and 2016 Human Rights Film Network Award at Venice International Film Festival and the 2003 Grand Prix at FIDMarseille.