Time challenges all of us—that’s what makes photography so significant. In all of my works, I include thousands of photographs; thus each image becomes a small portion in the passing of time. Like a shared memory, these abundant scenes offer many points of entry for the viewer.
– Yang Yongliang
Yang Yongliang (born 1980) is a Chinese contemporary artist. He approaches photography in a unique way. In Yang Yongliang’s digital artworks, we see an ancient past in the process of being erased by the machinery of urbanization.
Born in 1980, in Shanghai, China; Yang was trained as a pupil of traditional Chinese art since early childhood, later graduated from China Academy of Art in Shanghai in 2003, majored in Visual Communication. Yang exploits a connection between traditional art and the contemporary, implementing ancient oriental aesthetics and literati beliefs with modern language and digital techniques. His work has been exhibited internationally at museums and biennials, such as Thessaloniki Biennale in Greece (2009), Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing (2012), National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne (2012), Moscow Biennale (2013), Metropolitan Museum of Art New York (2013), Daegu Photo Biennale in Korea (2014), Singapore ArtScience Museum (2014), Modern Art Museum Paris (2015), Kunst und Kultur in Neuried e.V (2015), Fukuoka Asian Art Museum (2015), Somerset House London (2016, 2013), Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney (2016, 2011); collected by more than 20 public institutes including the British Museum, Brooklyn Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, San Francisco Asian Art Museum and etc. Yang currently lives and works between New York and Shanghai.
Phantom Landscape is a series that started in 2006. Yang Yongliang uses images of architecture as brushstrokes; heavy mountain rocks with enriched details draw a faithful reference to Song Dynasty landscape painting. Urban development makes life in the city flourish, but it also imprisons these lives; centuries-old cultural tradition in China is profound, but it has also remained stagnant. Ancient Chinese people painted landscapes to praise the greatness of nature; Yang’s works, on the other hand, lead towards a critical re-thinking of contemporary reality.