Two Rooms is an immersive installation created by the Chinese artist Wang Wei (b. 1972, Beijing) at Edouard Malingue Gallery. The project is an appropriation of an existing space and its visual elements, which the artist then enlarges and adapts to a gallery setting, playing with the gallery layout.
Conceived not so much as an artwork but rather a vehicle for situating artifice in the context of everyday life, the installation builds upon Wang Wei‘s interest in the Beijing Zoo: upon a visit in 2007 he was struck by the wall designs of the animal enclosures. These evident fictions or ‘natural’ habitats have since inspired several installations exhibited at the Kunsthalle Project Space, Vienna as well as Observation Society, Guangzhou amongst other locations.
Each of Wang Wei‘s works inspired by the Beijing Zoo have channeled this dichotomy between structure and interaction. Through a process of identification, engagement and decontextualisation, Wang Wei questions the veracity of natural forms before fresh eyes and constructs windows for the investigation of new layers of meaning.
Two Rooms (2015) conveys Wang Wei’s persistence upon space and immersion. On the one hand, by inserting and recasting the backgrounds of these cages within the ‘white cube’, he decontextualises the original and highlights its fiction and absurdity. On the other hand, by altering the space of the ‘white cube’, he challenges the spaces’ character and breaks down the gallery’s supposed neutrality. This in itself is a great challenge, for Wang Wei is not altering the space’s meaning through changing its architecture, but rather by immersing it in a constructed narrative sequence, replete with visual impressions that ultimately have intellectual and bodily repercussions.