Dahong Hongxuan Wang: Role Model

03 May - 30 June 2024

Role Model is an exhibition by Dahong Hongxuan Wang as part of our The Lives of Artists season. The Lives of Artists asks audiences what might be uncovered about ourselves when we listen to the testimony, histories, and stories of artists reflecting on their lives.

Fri 3 May - Sun 30 Jun

Dahong Hongxuan Wang, an artist who has played the role of Anna May Wong in several of Michelle Williams Gamaker’s works, will exhibit her new film Role Model. Dahong Hongxuan Wang ’s new film follows the path of Anna May Wong who travelled to her ancestral hometown of Taishan, Guangdong. Having been rejected by Hollywood in favour of actors in the racist make-up technique of yellowface, Wong set off on a tour of China. Reflecting back on her time in China and America, Wong said “It's a pretty sad situation to be rejected by the Chinese because I'm 'too American' and by American producers because they want other races to act Chinese parts.”

Through her vocal and symbolic acts of resistance and critique, Dahong Hongxuan Wang finds a role model in Anna May Wong, “a modern, Chinese, young female performer has finally found her lifetime role model”.

Role Model will feature a director-like Anna (played by Dahong Hongxuan Wang), who ultimately succeeds in dominating the whole documentary process.

Hear Dahong Hongxuan Wang and Michelle Williams Gamaker discuss their latest exhibitions at the Bluecoat.

About the Artist

Dahong Hongxuan Wang is a performance, installation and moving image artist currently based in Beijing. Her practice explores the various manifestations of the "rebel body", especially the female body, amid numerous social structural violence.

In Dahong Hongxuan Wang's practice, she posits "rebellion" as a continuous way of life in daily life rather than an intermittent psychological state.

The word rebellion connotes power hierarchy and self-esteem and is often associated with rebellious behaviour among teenagers, fierce but straightforward. Dahong Hongxuan Wang attempts to place this accidental adolescent psychology in the increasingly complex social status quo and, by amplifying this plain action, to indicate the big or small injustices of nowadays society.

Body movements, vocalisations, facial expressions and the positional relationship between objects and the body are crucial elements in her practice.

Dahong Hongxuan Wang is also active in Beijing as a social activity organiser. Starting from her identity and experience, she holds events in local communities to establish a more direct connection with the land and the people.

Role Model is supported by The Elephant Trust.

The Lives of Artists

This exhibition is part of 'The Lives of Artists' season, asking audiences what might be uncovered about ourselves when we listen to the testimony, histories, and stories of artists reflecting on their lives.

Dahong Hongxuan Wang is showing alongside Michelle Williams Gamaker's Our Mountains Are Painted On Glass.