Exhibition Beijing

Trails: Yang Yingsheng Solo Exhibition
2018.9.8 (sat) - 11.10 (sat)

Born in 1961, Yang Yingsheng graduated from the Nanjing University of the Arts, the Wimbledon College of Arts, and the Royal Academy of Arts. In 1989, he served as assistant to Lucian Freud’s agent James Kirkman. In 1992, at the invitation of renowned English oil painting restoration expert Claire Wiggins, he studied oil painting conservation and restoration. He has done restoration and conservation work on oil paintings residing in the collections of the British Museum, the Imperial War Museum and the Royal Opera House, as well as those of over 60 public and private estates. He currently lives and works in London.

While playing an active role in the “’85 New Wave” Movement, Yang Yingsheng was greatly influenced by Surrealism, resulting in a series of works which remain influential to this day. In the 80’s, at a time when China barely had any contact with the West, Yang Yingsheng acted on his longing to see Western modern art and left the country to study Western modern art in England. Upon graduation, while creating his own contemporary artworks, he worked as a restorer of Western classical and modern oil paintings. This experience left him a uniquely profound understanding of Western art. While living in the West for over 30 years, Yang Yingsheng never lost sight of his Eastern identity, owing to his special preference for landscape paintings of the Chinese Song and Yuan Dynasties. Characteristic Oriental painting styles greatly enriched his painterly lexicon and had a considerable impact on his body of work.

Yang Yingsheng’s modes of creation have changed all throughout his creative career, in the wake of his constant explorations of contemporary art. At the onset of the 21st century, the artist gradually distanced himself from the paintbrush and canvas altogether. He started making use of collage, chafing, rubbing, scraping or computerized techniques to evoke illusory scenes, luring the spectator into the realm of his own imagination. In the words of the artist: “When faced with an unfamiliar image, our instinctive reaction is to turn it into an object or scene we’re familiar with. As an artist, I’m most interested in the possibility of such visual transmogrifications. Some of the lines and color segments in my works have been subjectively designed, whereas some are sheerly objective occurrence. Whether they come across as abstract, figurative, strange or familiar, they’re merely visual footholds I provide for the audience to try and figure out and infer. The significance of my works is only generated after each individual spectator has reimagined and “re-created” them.”This exhibition showcases a series of Yang Yingsheng’s paintings done on blocks/boards.