“Summer Wind Before Rain” (2017) was shot in upstate New York at Storm King Art Center during Wang Xu’s residency there. Nestled in the mountains and greenery of the Hudson Valley, the center sites more than 100 sculptures over a 500-acre landscape. The work is an attempt to place the body and creation within the context of the wilderness. Wang explains, “I collected clay and plants from the mountain, using them as raw materials for the sculpture, through a process of mixing and drying. In the attempt to relocate the body and art making into the wilderness, I also recorded the process of producing a bust for a gardener who works at the Art Center. As the two of us stood across from each other by the landmark tree at the edge of the outdoor park, I picked up a pile of corn silk to portray the gardener’s mustache; from this silent exchange, a strange murmur transpired in the convergence with nature.”
Considering Storm King’s collection mostly consists of large-scale public installations, the video captures the action of preparing for the resulting sculpture. The atmospheric shots of the natural surroundings serve as a foundational backdrop for the portrait. Wang’s tireless labor is a reminder of the way we control, and are controlled, by nature.
Wang Xu (b. 1986, Dalian, China) is an artist based between New York and China. He works predominantly in sculpture and video installation. For Wang, sculpture occupies an ambiguous space between objects, experience and social practice, mediated by time and personal memories. Wang’s shows include 'Mosquitoes, Dusts, and Thieves', 47 Canal, New York; A Frame Apart, Queens International 2016 Short Film Program, Queens Museum, Queens, NY (2016); Flaherty NYC, Anthology Film Archives, New York, NY (2016); 'This one is smaller than this one', Postmasters, New York, NY (2016); In Response: Repetition and Difference, Jewish Museum, New York, NY (2015); and Under Foundations, SculptureCenter, Long Island City, NY (2015). His residencies include The Shandaken Project, Storm King, Mountainville, NY (2016), Pioneer Works Residency Program, New York, NY (2016), Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, NY (2017). Wang holds a B.F.A from Central Academy of Fine Arts Beijing and an M.F.A from Columbia University. He is one of three Co-Founders of PRACTICE.