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July 27, 2010

Yang Yongliang’s Artificial Wonderland

by quaesitor

Every now and then I come across something that takes my breath away. And recently, I’ve found this happen more and more with contemporary Chinese artists. Q regulars may remember the powerful impact of Xu Bing’s work with his meaningless words. Well here’s another…

As this picture above illustrates, Chinese classical art is world-renowned for its stunning landscape painting (especially for the ways that the natural world is evoked by the slightest of brushstrokes).

But check this out.

Here are a few variations on the theme by the remarkable artist, Shanghai-based Yang Yongliang. At first sight, they seem to follow closely the path and styles of the old masters. But look closer – and you see that all is not as it first seems – for a start, they’re actually produced on an inkjet printer. Then he’s presented an incredibly powerful subversion of the style, as a way of exposing the way that aggressive capitalism and environmental exploitation have destroyed so much of the uniquely beautiful Chinese landscape.

No wonder that they have been appropriated by the China Environment Protection Foundation. No idea who or what they’re like, but i sure hope they’re able to stop at least some of the insanity.

Artificial Wonderland by Yang Yongliang

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