Born Ganyu, Jiangsu, 1970. Lives and works in Changzhou, Jiangsu
Dong Wensheng’s photographs look at first glance like realistic depictions of ordinary scenes or objects, but many have an odd or eerie aspect—a missing finger joint, as in The Convert No. 1, or an anatomically impossible twist, as in 2012. His artful editing blurs the lines between painting, installation and film to create pictures that often resemble stills from a mystery or horror movie (he also makes video art). A protégé of Zhou Xiaohu, Dong Wensheng names among his influences traditional Chinese art, porcelain and poetry, as well as physics, Nietzsche, and Robert Rauschenberg. His work is a visual counterpart of Freud’s observation that the uncanny is “nothing new or alien, but something which is familiar and old-established in the mind and which has become alienated from it only through the process of repression”. Each of Dong Wensheng’s framed scenes is an allegorical glimpse of a human truth for so long kept dark that we barely have words to express it.