Wang Ningde’s photographs are personal and artistic constructions, and they explore the connection between memory and reality. Without memory, even the present might not make sense and, vice versa, without a connection to reality, memory could become merely a dream without any meaning and altered by imagination.
It is said that the eyes tell everything about a person, but here we must trust in what exudes from the facial expressions and the general context, and what they communicate to us is a sense of solitude, anxiety and melancholy, and hearts that close within themselves a painful past.
The works by Wang Ningde are created by drawing on his past experience—childhood, family life, his own sexuality—but they do not narrate specific events: they recall them, evoke them, and then refute them. All his characters refuse to make visual contact with the viewer and always keep their eyes closed, or are taken from the back. And yet, within the a-temporal black-and-white setting, the involvement with them is profound and one can’t help but ask what they are thinking about. Many answers immediately leap to mind, imagining a story or seeing one’s own mirrored in them, thus becoming part of them and identifying with them. But one thing is certain, we will never know their intimate secrets because in the photographs of Wang Ningde, there are no answers.