Wang Guangyi’s aesthetic includes taking various motifs – for example, well-known propaganda images and photographs – and merging them with brand names to undermine their true meaning. Combining ideology and advertising, he criticizes the two apparent “truths” of both. In short, he branded socialist realists iconography and symbolized with another, contradictory, digressive system. Despite no obvious relationship, the images are intended to shed light on the fact that the primary goal of both is to convince the population of the authenticity and singularity of their products. The artistic strategy produces images on different levels, both symbolic and real, and actively visualizes the key patterns of thinking of the economy and its social and cultural implications.
Wang Guangyi applies a selection of media, including installation art, paintings and sculptures with various media, but it was his series of oil paintings, called “Great Criticism”, that earned him his fame. On a superficial level, these images resemble the technique and aesthetics of Warhol’s pop icons, but their adhering contents are extremely sophisticated fusions of different belief systems, especially socialism and consumerism.
Wang Guangyi is one of the most important artists of “Political Pop”.