Wang Jianwei's Time Temple at the Guggenheim

Wang Jianwei’s Time Temple at the Guggenheim

The Guggenheim is an art itself. The building, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, was originally built as a temple for spirit. The magnificent design of a ramp going up in a spiral was also carefully designed to hide the artworks above from guests on the ground floor. It was designed so that visitors can take the elevator to the top and enjoy the artworks while making their way down the ramp.


Viewers entering the exhibition, Wang Jianwei: Time Temple, are greeted with a quote from the artist, “I think revolution happens when you distrust anything in its current state, including yourself.”

The different carved sculptures each have an individual uniqueness in its shape. Wang Jianwei also adds an additional piece to some like a touch of blue, yellow, or black paint, gold brass, and a layer of black rubber. The colors of the different mediums of artwork all match each other and include mostly just yellow, blue, and black. Each of these pieces of art can function as individual artworks as well as a group when they are together.


In the large paneled painting, there are people seated at a table while on one side someone stood and on the other, a man sitting. They all seemed to be observing what the lady on the other end was holding, like in show and tell. The most unique part of the paint is the yellow diagonal lines coming down from the top right corner of every panel. To me, it seemed like light was coming into the painting. Our tour guide explained that yellow is the “in between” color as it is the middle in a traffic light. I think Wang Jianwei wanted us to stop and think about this moment where we don’t have to stop or go, but at this transitional phase in between.

This thought provoking exhibit shows Wang Jianwei’s complex ideas that he is trying to express and I really enjoyed it.