Wang Jianwei has been interested in the pre-established functions of a space since Production (1997); this piece was the primary work of his first attempts at video-recorded art. Production was a selective documentative record of the intra-group relationships which take place in public spaces across all areas of Sichuan Province, inquiring into the private space of conversation within a public space of the teahouse. The video recording Life Elsewhere (1998-1999) similarly possessed documentative qualities in its attempt to take social issues and phenomena and situate them in an expanded domain of observation. Wang Jianwei resists utilizing solely one means by which to express the integrity of relationships and thoughts, this can be seen a key aspect of his visual language. In Screen (2000), Wang Jianwei for the first time used theatrical performance to act out the scene of the painting The Banquet of Han Xizai by the Five Dynasties’ painter Gu Hong, and in the later work Flying Bird is Motionless (2005) once again worked using theatre and rehearsal to elucidate his personal interpretation on time and the contemporary. Human Quality (2008), uses an extremely tense 32-minute recording to reconstruct communal life during China’s Cultural Revolution, a conceptual project which linked together all experiences of history, utopias, symbols and influences utilizing video, photographs, and sculptural installations amongst other media as a means of questioning and experimentation. “Rehearsal” for Wang Jianwei is the focal avenue through which he consults reality and history, and though many of Wang Jianwei’s works are founded in the experience of Chinese society, they are much more focused on a globalised and universal dimension, such as in his video and performance work Welcome to the Desert of the Real (2010).
In 2011 Wang Jianwei held a solo-exhibition “Yellow Signal” at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art and in 2013 held a solo-exhibition at Long March Space titled “……..” 2014-2015 he held a solo-exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York “Time Temple” followed by the 2015 “Dirty Substance” at Long March Space. No matter whether installation or paintings, both progressively take form through unknown active forms, just as the medium of rehearsal, with the dialogue and contradictions amongst works in diverse media themselves can be seen as the launch of a rehearsal.