Featured artist: Ryan Muchen Wang

Art | March 2, 2023 |

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Image courtesy of Ryan Muchen Wang

Featured artist
Ryan Muchen Wang

Ryan Muchen Wang is a visual artist and filmmaker based in New York. His film and video work often use a mixture of fiction, documentary and experimental genres to examine the place, displacement and contradictory nature of memory. His recent video and installation also examine and construct different kinds of storytelling and visual narratives. Many of his moving image work embraces the avant-garde and essayistic modes of fiction and non-fiction cinema. Transitory places like train stations, airports and bus stations appear as motifs connecting the memories scattered in the stretch of time. Ryan Wang received his MFA in Visual Arts from Columbia University. He has taught film and video at institutions such as Columbia University and Syracuse University.

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Image courtesy of Ryan Muchen Wang

The film To You is made in 2022. He intends to examine the place, displacement and contradiction of memory. It is about a man who recollects memories of the unpleasant past as he reads through letters, both received and written during a special time, while he travels across various urban spaces in a snowy winter. The images of snowy New York City, the intimate narration, the roar of the city traffic and the constant migration on the road all come together to emote an eternal longing for home. The melancholic visual journey acts as a metaphor for the physical distance between the foreign traveller in a distant land and their families back home. Those images are basically what he sees every day during the pandemic in 2021. At that time he was still in graduate school at Columbia. His daily route doesn’t have many changes. Taking the train every day from home to his studio at school. The letters are largely based on his personal experiences.

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Image courtesy of Ryan Muchen Wang

His new work-in-progress is Recollection. It’s a short film series with four to five episodes. Each episode is 8 to 20 minutes long. The short films continue his inspiration to examine the place, displacement and the contradictory nature of memory. The work embraces the avant-garde and essayistic modes of fiction and non-fiction cinema. Each episode focuses on the characters as travellers and is intended to be filmed in different languages. Fictional memory is constructed in each episode exploring the theme of displacement, home and desire. I’m interested in creating emotional landscapes in the images. Nature and the urban landscape in the moving images often represent the inner psychology of the characters, giving the viewers space to contemplate and explore their own emotions. He has finished two episodes, Once Saw a Time Traveler and On a Usual Night, and he is currently working on the third episode. The final project is going to be made as part of a video installation.

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Image courtesy of Ryan Muchen Wang

Can’t Let Go is a claymation he made in 2021. It addresses the issues happening after the old village construction plan in China. The story is based on his childhood memory of me going to movie theatres with his father. The reason to create this video with clay is that you can see the trace and fingerprints in those clay characters. The memory of the creator and the making process is embedded within those clay characters.

more. www.ryanmuchenwang.com

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Image courtesy of Ryan Muchen Wang


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