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Yang Yongliang's works: Fuse the Traditional and the Contemporary, on special display at Art Central

2023.03.22
ART NEWS

Yang Yongliang

Whitestone Gallery will feature a special exhibition of Chinese artist Yang Yongliang's video works at the prestigious Hong Kong art fair, Art Central. As the world recovers from the pandemic, we are reminded of the importance of reclaiming our daily lives. Through his work that addresses contemporary societal issues, we reflect on the present that we should contemplate.

Fusion of Tradition and Culture

Whitestone Gallery booth at Art Central

Born in Shanghai in 1980, Yang Yongliang graduated from China Academy of Art and started producing works that blend traditional Chinese art and culture with modern technology. Since 2005, he has been experimenting with various media, including photography, painting, video, and installation.

Whitestone Gallery booth at Art Central

Yang's works are known for their breathtaking grandeur and captivating depictions of time flowing gracefully. Growing up in a village near Shanghai, he often incorporates societal issues such as rapid urbanization, consumerism, and environmental pollution into his work, which reflects the decline of traditional Chinese culture and changes in the surrounding environment he witnessed during his childhood.

Five Dragons Depicting Fate

Yang Yongliang 『Imagined Landscape』 2022 at Whitestone Gallery Taipei

For the Art Central exhibition, which began on March 22, 2023, Yang Yongliang's video work "Five Dragons" is on display. In traditional Chinese culture, the dragon originally symbolized a water god that protects the sea. In modern times, however, it has become a generalized symbol of good luck and Asian culture. Yang Yongliang delves into historical contexts and brings to life the story of five dragons living in nature in his work.

Yang Yongliang 『Imagined Landscape』 2022 at Whitestone Gallery Taipei

The rocky terrain depicted in the work is so realistic that it is easy to mistake it for an actual landscape. The water splashes and clouds convey the flow of time, and as the viewer is captivated by the scenery, the dragons gradually appear one by one. The dragons, inspired by the most famous dragons of the Southern Song dynasty master Chen Rong, spend their time in the painting in their own way, some resting their bodies against the rocks, some carefully surveying their surroundings, and some swimming freely in the sky. From time to time, the dragons turn their fierce faces towards the viewer, revealing their presence and inviting them into the world of legends and fables.

Yang Yongliang 《Five Dragons》 2020, 4K video, 8'54

Reality of Contemporary Society Concealed Behind Beauty

In addition to "Five Dragons," Yang Yongliang has produced various works that explore the relationship between tradition and modernity. The "Shanshui with Color Series," released in 2021, is a meticulous work that combines traditional Chinese ink painting with urban landscapes. This series was inspired by Yang's reconsideration of Shanghai as a place during his stay in New York City when the world was undergoing radical change during the 2020-2021 lockdown.

Furthermore, his "Imitation Ancient Shanshui" series redefines contemporary landscapes by referencing famous paintings by Song dynasty painters such as Guo Xi, Fan Kuan, and Li Tang. His video work, "Polar Night Fireworks," which combines the night views of Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macau with splendid fireworks and the brilliance of the sky, contains within its beautiful appearance the rapid development and environmental issues of modern China.

Yang Yongliang 『Imagined Landscape』 2022 at Whitestone Gallery Taipei

"Five Dragons" will be on display until March 25, 2023, during the Art Central exhibition. You can view Yang Yongliang's past exhibitions online on the website. For more information, please visit the artist's introduction page.

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