Wang Xingwei, Shenyang Night, 2018, oil on canvas, 9' 10 1⁄8“ × 16' 3”.

Wang Xingwei, Shenyang Night, 2018, oil on canvas, 9' 10 1⁄8“ × 16' 3”.

Wang Xingwei

Galerie Urs Meile | Beijing 麦勒画廊

As pseudoscientific and dubious as the practice of physiognomy may be, it delivers judgments that are based on a fixed set of criteria. In the Chinese context, physical attributes such as the shape of one’s head are believed to reveal aspects of one’s fate. In “The Code of Physiognomy,” an exhibition at Galerie Urs Meile’s space in Beijing’s 798 district, Wang Xingwei reflected on the theme of predetermination through the prism of various scenarios and personalities within the artist’s immediate environment: his family, his friends, or a group of defamed political figures whose respective destinies are left implicit in the artist’s pastiche of allegorical cues. For instance, the four-part painting Noon Break, 2017–19, theatrically stages what could be a tableau from a popular anti–Japanese war TV series. The idle, almost comical poses of the Japanese soldiers render their presence effectively

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