Yang Yongliang

Yang Yongliang is a Shanghai-based artist, He studied traditional Chinese art such as shui mo painting and calligraphy from his early age. Yongliang came forth after the Chinese Cultural revolution which means that he can embrace a higher level of artistic freedom that past generations were not able to do. Because of this he uses a mixture of traditional chinese painting methods with calligraphy and technology to create his interesting landscapes. His latest work presents a hazy tableau of cityscapes expressing Shanghai’s uncompromising urbanization. Despite the emphatically modern subject matter, the technique remains true to the canon of Chinese artistic tradition—particularly the 5th-century Shan shui style of painting. (DestinAsian. 2014)

His series ‘Phantom Landscapes’ which he created in 2005 was ‘designed to reveal the reality that urbanisation is damaging nature.’ Similarly in his series ‘Heavenly City’ which was finished in 2008. He wanted to portray that ‘The idea behind the series comes from the nuclear threat to human life: human beings created this massive power which is capable of destroying them.’ These themes throughout his images are very important and were portrayed to make the viewer question their own impact on the world. Additionally, the way that the photographs have been constructed don’t necessarily give you this meaning straight away. You have to look up close in the details of the images to be able to discover these, as from a distance it may just look like a traditional Chinese painting.

To produce his images Yongliang finds places in cities where he can take his photos using a digital camera. Then he collects a huge database, then separates them into different groupings. For the post production he uses Photoshop to layer his images and some three-dimensional imaging programs to achieve simulation of clouds. As you can see, digital technologies are a large part in what he produces. This enabling him to experiment with his photographs and manipulate them in a certain way in which he can establish his messages about the nuclear effects on the world.

Yang Yonliang’s work has similarities to Sohei Nishino’s work in the way that it multiple images are joined together to create this powerful final image. However, Yongliang uses this process of merging and a variety of other techniques rather than collaging and joining images together. I think that both ideas would be worth experimenting with in our group project this week as we’ve decided that we are all going to take individual pictures once a day and I think it will be interesting to see what results we can achieve when merging them together as well as collaging them. Hopefully our results will be powerful enough to portray our message as Yang Yongliang has done within his photographs.

Group, D. M. (2014) Yang at Galerie Paris-Beijing. DestinAsian. Available at: http://www.destinasian.com/countries/east-southeast-asia/china/yang-yongliang-at-galerie-paris-beijing/ (Accessed: 26 February 2015).

Shore, R. (2014) Post-Photography: The Artist with a Camera. United Kingdom: Laurence King Publishing.

Yang Yongliang (no date) China Photo Education. Available at: http://www.chinaphotoeducation.com/Carol_China/Yang_Yongliang.html (Accessed: 26 February 2015).

Yang, Y. and Stuart, J. (2013) Artificial wonderland. Paris Beijing.

© Kirstie Wilkinson

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