Dahong Hongxuan Wang: Role Model

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.


11:00am - 5:00pm


Fri 03 May - Sun 30 June 2024


The Bluecoat


Wheelchair Accessible

Dahong Hongxuan Wang: Role Model
Friday 3rd May - Sunday 30th June

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 Models. 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, Hongxuan Wang finds a role model in Anna May Wong, “a modern, Chinese, young female performer has finally found her lifetime role model”. Role Models will feature a director-like Anna (played by Hongxuan Wang), who ultimately succeeds in dominating the whole documentary process.

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 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. 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.

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.