“From the beginning, I was interested in issues of time.”
b. 1972 Kuandian County, Liaoning Province. Lives and works in Beijing.
Wang Ningde became a photographer by accident, when he accompanied his friend to the entrance exam for the Photography Department of the art academy, and somehow found himself enrolled. Until that moment, he had never used a camera. Wang’s body of work, Some Days, (1999 – 2009) examines the experiences of his generation. Born into the Cultural Revolution, they grew up in a country transformed by a flood of new ideas, imported products and greater openness, but their dark memories were like scars, impossible to erase.
Wang’s staged photographs provide surreal glimpses of the intersection between his imperfect recall of the past, his dreams and imaginings, and what we think of as ‘reality’. Like a cinema director, he uses ‘actors’, sets and lighting to construct melancholy family scenarios. His models are generally instructed to keep their eyes closed, adding a further layer of mystery. Wang Ningde’s ambiguous photographic narratives blur past and present; are we watching a memory of the past, or events yet to unfold? What will happen next, and what has just occurred? The central figure in many of these photographs, a man in a shabby Mao suit, is an unreliable narrator, not entirely to be trusted.