Cloud’s Nightmare, Animation 8’30″,2010
The animations and paintings of Wu Junyong have the same unsettling effect of an Aesop’s Fable or Grimms’ Fairytale. Peopled by kings, jesters, and animals, they use the language of shadow-puppetry and performance to comment on the greed and hubris of society. Almost gothic in their aesthetic, they are marked by a dark wit that seems timeless, crossing Chinese and Western mythology to expose the follies of those in authority. There is more than a little of The Emperor’s New Clothes in Wu’s work, and a strange feeling of wickedness in the fact that pictures so violent should be so appealing.
Wu Junyong’s studio is a mish-mash of paper cut outs pinned to corkboards, paintings propped up against the walls, prints hanging from the upper levels, and a quiet digital studio in the corner. It’s easy to picture him moving from one area to another, picking up different tools with which to work, depending on the mood and demands of the moment.
To meet Wu Junyong is to come into contact with the same cheeky ambiguity in his art. Hopefully something of his mischievous smile comes through in the interview posted below.