Installation view of Song Wei’s <em>Hamburger with qilin and waves</em> on display in NGV Triennial from 3 December 2023 to 7 April 2024 at NGV International, Melbourne. Photo: Sean Fennessy<br/>

Song Wei

Photo: courtesy of the artist

Song Wei
China born 1980

Level 1
NGV International
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Song Wei’s Hamburger series juxtaposes tradition and modernisation in contemporary China. The hamburger is the visual image that Wei feels most accurately conveys his personal experiences and feelings. Using the ‘blue and white’ motifs of traditional ceramics to decorate the buns, these sculptural works reflect both the external tensions that presently exist in China, as well as Wei’s internal exploration of where he sits among these two worlds. The four works display a range of auspicious subjects: scholars’ treasures; the mythical winged qilin, whose fabled appearance coincided with the birth or death of a sage or ruler; bats and peaches, symbolising good luck and long life; and dragons symbolising the imperial mandate from heaven.

Growing up in the 1980s, Song Wei experienced the conflicting ideals of Chinese tradition with Western influences. This environment led his artmaking practice to explore this contradiction. He has a Master of Arts from the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute and now teaches at Macau University of Science and Technology. He became attracted to the exquisite beauty and classical elegance of Ming and Qing antiquities during university, particularly the traditional ‘blue and white’ decoration. This refined craft sat far away from the artist’s daily life in which he would ‘revel in the novel world of popular culture and enjoy hanging around in the cooling airconditioned interiors of McDonald’s fastfood restaurants’.

Gift of Song Wei, 2023
M. G. Chapman Bequest, 2023
Purchased with funds donated by Thomas Bridge, 2023
Purchased with funds donated by Connie Kimberley and Craig
Kimberley OAM, 2022