Wang Jianwei's Time Temple Review

Wang Jianwei’s Time Temple Review

Today was my first trip to the Guggenheim museum, and after this experience, I think it is safe to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. I found the Guggenheim to be a refreshing museum experience- not only because of its architecture, but also its experimental, avant garde exhibits, and of course, Wang Jianwei’s Time Temple.


As we were walking towards the Guggenheim, my first impressions of it were, “It’s a little small for such a famous museum.” However, once inside, I realized that I was wrong, and that Frank Lloyd Wright was an architectural genius- the spiral shape allowed the museum to be far more, or at least appear to be, expansive. Not only that, it was really cool to walk around all the way up without any stairs, and it was interesting that all the actual exhibits were behind the spiral (Fun fact- our tour guide told our group that it was specifically designed this way, so that people could not see any of the artwork from the ground floor.).


Wang Jianwei’s Time Temple was one of my favorite art pieces that we saw this year, besides Tom Smith’s Heavenly Bodies at the Rox Gallery. Maybe it was because of all the previous exposure to abstract art this year, but this installation was the first time I was able to “see something” about the art that made sense. I cannot describe how, but I was somehow able to link the sculptures and physical installations to the painting of the meeting, seeing the wooden sculptures as physical representations of the painted table. Whether or not this was Wang Jianwei’s intention, I felt a lot less confused about this installation than other works of art that we saw this year.

Another thing that I liked about Wang Jianwei’s exhibit was the use of space. Our tour guide told us that Wang Jianwei literally came the day before the show was supposed to open and created the exhibit there. For example, in the painting there is a blue line that runs where the ceiling meets the floor in the painting. This is supposed to be a representation of the way the wall that the painting is hung on meets the floor.


In addition, once we walk into the room, we become a part of the exhibit- we can get so close to the wood sculptures that nothing is stopping us from touching them except for watchful museum guards. I enjoyed walking between the two large sculptures and feeling awkward and unsettled, almost as if I was supposed to do that but not do that. The painting of the cell was also interesting because of the use of his colors. The tour guide also explained that the yellow color was meant to represented indecision when we looked at the portrait- when we look at traffic lights, yellow is when you have to decide whether to speed up to beat the light or slow down.


Besides Time Temple, I had the opportunity to walk around the museum and explore other exhibits. I found them to be very unique- they made me feel as though I was walking among showcases at a World’s Fair, even though I’ve never been to one. For example one of the pieces, done by Klein was empty- the original art featured him standing there smoking, letting the smoke take on ephemeral shapes and then disappear.

All in all, I am very appreciative of the fact that our last trip turned out to be such a pleasant experience, and one where I feel that I have finally begun to grasp the idea and abstractions of contemporary art. I will really miss outings, and am very thankful that I’ve had the opportunity to go and experience the arts of New York City.