Elephant | Ziping Wang Is Playing Tricks on You

Emily Gosling, Elephant, 23 Nov 2020

"The Chinese artist's painstaking oil paintings of food packaging resemble digital collages, creating an illusion of flatness. Her work dissects distraction in the age of the internet. 


The striking bright colours of Ziping Wang’s work are instantly seductive, but beyond the seemingly cutesy depictions of snacks, food packaging, snippets of wallpaper-like patterns, traditional Chinese motifs and hints of cartoonish characters are more complex threads. The melange of seemingly disconnected fragments is a deliberate mode of subterfuge: Wang’s compositions might suggest a simple meaning on first glance, but this soon unravels into a glorious tangle of narrative threads.


She hints at the strange slipperiness between the real and unreal we experience when viewing the world through the lens of the internet: “the elusive nature of modified reality” and the anxiety generated by the “constant overload of advertisements, pop-up window browsers and catchy slogans” that form a “constructed reality so uncannily similar to the physical world,” as she puts it. The paintings quietly warn of the dangers of assuming meaning from our own narrow, individual set of reference points and experiences."