Date : 2005
Medium : Sculpture
Size : 180 x 180 x 180 cm
A metallic replica of a huge ball of crumpled newspaper lies on the ground. Published in Paris, the famous American daily newspaper is sold in 180 countries, i.e. across almost the entire globe. Quite a symbol.
“The bigger the better” sums up Wang Du’s approach to highlighting his obsession – the power of the media. The Chinese artist only discovered the information society when he settled in France in 1990 (after spending nine months in a Chinese prison following the Tiananmen Square massacre). His energetic, tongue-in-cheek criticism of media images through his own images is compellingly relevant to this contemporary argument.
There’s nothing unusual about scrunched up ball of paper. You throw it in the bin and forget about it. But in the hands of Chinese artist Wang Du, this ball of paper has become a sculpture, an impressively big one.
This is no ordinary paper, as the title of the work suggests. It is in fact a page from the International Herald Tribune.
How did the artist make this sculpture?
In his workshop, the artist scrunched up a sheet of newspaper and made a prototype. He then produced a mould which was used to produce the white bronze sculpture. His assistants then engraved the text using acid.
Now take a closer look. You will notice spots of oxidation. The material is undergoing change. This is why Wang Du chose bronze for his sculpture.
The artist has also distorted the scale and played with the size and mass. After all, what could be lighter than a sheet of newspaper? And what could be heavier than bronze? The choice of material is anything but random. The artist is making an observation of the modern world, offering us an acerbic view of mass media. He forces us to feel the media's power, but at the same time fixes it in time.
Has news become a disposable consumer good? Wang Du’s work demonstrates that the notion of “disposable news” is obsolete. We cannot get rid of news, as it influences our very reality. This is what the artist calls “post reality”.
Perhaps what we can see in this scrunched up piece of work is the artist's anger about this inevitability.