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The Interrogation

Wang Tuo

Release year: 2017

Run time: 18'35"

Film type: single channel HD video (color, sound)

Synopsis

The Interrogation is a video constructed entirely from still film photography and photo shop collage – playing out as a photomontage along with a voiceover. The work is two narratives intertwined. One comes from an audio recording of the artist interviewing a local officer from the Commission for Discipline Inspection. In this interview, the officer talks about the psychological tricks he had used to succeed at his job interview. Then he describes the mental methods he always applies to his suspects during the interrogation process. The other narrative is a short story written by the artist and inspired by Ingmar Bergman’s movie Persona (1966). In the story, an actress refusing to speak and a nurse trying to make her talk gradually switch roles and turn into each other. These two narratives together bring to mind the complexity of the reality that we are currently in: Our everyday routines and the extreme situations that remain hidden behind our mundane daily lives intersect through a similar structure of communication. The roles that people play in these scenarios are thus in constant flux.

 

Director biography

Wang Tuo (b. 1984, Changchun, China) interweaves Chinese historical facts, cultural archives, fiction and mythology into speculative narratives. Equating his practice to novel writing, he stages an intervention in historical literary texts and cultural archives to formulate stories that blur the boundaries of time and space, facts and imagination. Through film, performance, painting, and drawing, the artist’s work is a powerful examination of modern Chinese and East Asian history. The multidimensional chronologies he constructs, interspersed with conspicuous and hidden clues, expose the underlying historical and cultural forces at work within society. Embracing a uniquely Chinese hauntology, Wang proposes “pan-shamanization” as an entry point to unravel the suppressed and untreated memories of 20th century China and East Asia. Through historical inquiry, Wang’s works, often unsettling and dramatic, disentangle collective unconsciousness and historical traumas. Wang has recent solo shows at K21, Düsseldorf; UCCA, Beijing; Present Company, New York; Salt Project, Beijing; Taikang Space, Beijing, and recent group shows at M+ Museum, Hong Kong, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul; Julia Stoschek Collection, Düsseldorf; Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, Baden- Baden; Queens Museum, New York; Kino der Kunst, Munich; Zarya Center for Contemporary Art, Vladivostok; Incheon Art Platform, Incheon; Power Station of Art, Shanghai; OCAT, Shenzhen & Shanghai; Times Museum, Guangzhou; National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung. Wang Tuo was an Artist in Residence at the Queens Museum, New York from 2015 to 2017. He won the China Top Shorts Award and the Outstanding Art Exploration Award in Beijing International Short Film Festival 2018. Wang Tuo is the winner of the Three Shadows Photography Award 2018 and the Youth Contemporary Art Wuzhen Award 2019. He was awarded a research residency at KADIST San Francisco as part of the OCAT x KADIST Media Artist Prize 2020. In 2023, Wang Tuo won the Sigg Prize. He was shortlisted the K21 Global Art Award 2024.