Prove your humanity


“The Chinese are starting to want to express their individuality, but mostly in a very superficial way — i.e. in terms of looks. I personally don’t feel China’s current art scene is a deep reflection of the nation’s society.” Wanwan


“Temper Takes Five With…” presents a brand spankin’ new interview quickie that leaves behind all the lovey-dovey mussy fussy and gets straight up down and dirty in five takes. One artist/innovator/inspiration at a time. First up, we have Singapore-born, Shanghai-based photographer Wanwan of Rolento Photography. Time for take-off!

Courtesy of Rolento Photography

Take 1! Temper: “Rolento”? We may require more intel.

Wanwan: “Rolento F. Shugerg” is a character in the “Street Fighter” series. I chose this name simply because I thought it sounded cool.

Take 2! Temper: How does the new legion of post-80 and post-90 Chinese photographers and artists reflect a shift in China’s cultural Zeitgeist? 

Wanwan: I think they are very daring in terms of experimentation and are more willing to express themselves using photography as a medium. However, I wouldn’t say they are able to influence the overall “Made in China” label because eventually, those carrying the budget in their pockets will still lean towards the more conventional tried and tested stuff — both on a local as well as global level. Frankly, I for one don’t think I personally am powerful enough to influence the industry at large, but I do devote my fair share of time to pursuing my own definition of art as well as to solving problems that may occur for/with China’s commercial clientele.

Take 3! Temper: Rolento Photography in three sentences. Go!

Wanwan: Rolento Photography meets the commercial client’s visual needs. Rolento Photography is the next independent film house to produce movies that have not been influenced by producers or investors. Rolento Photography creates interesting visual content for the world to see.

“I don’t think art reflects what is going on in a society at all times, given eventually there is just the “sold art” that is shown to the masses… What is “sold”, is usually that which will rise in value or is well-marketed.” Wanwan


Take 4! Temper: What role, from your POV, do “gender” and “society” play in China’s visual arts — an inspiring/aspiring one?

Wanwan: I think the female mind is more particular about and more prone to capturing the details and emotions of the subject/object and thus female artists create relatively more sensual art. I believe male artists focus more on the general concept and are more raw in terms of their final presentation

Inspiring… Life and movies are where I find most novel ideas. Real-life people want to live inside the movies they watch and the characters inside movies are always trying to create a real life of their own. I do not have any specific preferences inspiration-wise, but I always enjoy seeing how art evolves over time, all over the world, be it movies, photography, architecture, etc. etc.

Aspiring… I feel that more and more Chinese are starting to want to express their individuality, but mostly opt to do so in a very superficial way — i.e. through their looks and wardrobes. I personally don’t think that China’s current art scene necessarily portrays a deep reflection of Chinese society in the 21st Century. If it does “go there”, it only scratches the surface, probably because it’s illegal to do so — to go deep, I mean.

I think Chinese art will actually flourish outside of China and foreign art will bloom within the Middle Kingdom. As for photography, I feel commercial photography will be going downhill over the next 10 years, but non-commercial photography will start to take a stand in the country once again.


Take 5! Temper: Art can reflect what is going on in a society, but do you think it can predict the future – i.e. the future of China?

Wanwan: Actually, I don’t think art can reflect what is going on in a society at all times. Let alone predict the future. When push comes to shove, only “sold art” is ever shown to the masses and what is “sold”, usually that which will rise in value or is well-marketed.

As far as my own future goes… I’m currently buried in the process of shooting my triquel feature length movie. The story has been in my head for the longest of times and I have forbidden myself to get married until at least two parts of the triquel have been signed, sealed and delivered — i.e. shot, edited and finished.


That is quite the commitment right there, we say!
















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All images come courtesy of Rolento Photography
Copyright@Temper Magazine, 2018. All rights reserved
Elsbeth van Paridon
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