Yang Yongliang — The Silent Valley
The Silent Valley
Past: March 14 → April 27, 2013
Yang Yongliang has studied traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy with the great master Yang Yang in Shanghai. Today, he cleverly combines this ancient art with photography and new medias to create a futuristic and age-old world at one time. Formatted to long panoramic scrolls, printed on cotton paper and red-stamped like in the ancient times, the whole composition being black and white as it would be Chinese ink, Yang Yongliang’s pictures do indeed represent the contemporary Shanshui1. When watching the photographic works at a distance they seem calligraphy paintings and old time’s natural misty landscapes. On the contrary when looking at them closely, they become shockingly modern city views.
In the Silent Valley series, a white-dressed character, emblematic figure of the ancient wisdom, wanders in a valley where the centenarians threes and the holy mountains have been replaced by power masts and skyscrapers. Images in the Moonlight series are futuristic representations of our megalopolises achieving a stunning urban sprawl. Lit up by light boxes, they plunge us in a dreamlike (or nightmare’s) dimension. The Day of Perpetual Night video animates this same insomniac vision of sprawling cities constantly expanding with an infernal rhythm, which artificial lights do not allow any distinction between day and night.
The splendid and visionary works of Yang Yongliang move us to pose a challenge on the future of the planet and our lives, more and more threatened by the devastating effects of uncontrolled urbanisation and industrialization.
Yang Yongliang was born in Shanghai in 1980. Photographer, painter, video maker, sculptor, he teaches today at the Shanghai Institute of Visual Art. His works have been widely exhibited and collected by The Moca, The Bates College Museum of Art, The British Museum and the Red Mansion Foundation. In 2009, he won the Discovery award of the Arles Photography Festival. His work has been recently shown at Lille’s Palais des Beaux-Arts for the exhibition Babel (2012-13).
1 Shan shui (Chinese: 山水 lit. “mountain-water”) refers to a style of Chinese painting that involves or depicts scenery or natural landscapes, using a brush and ink rather than more conventional paints.
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