China art in a state of flux

Published Thu, Aug 21, 2014 · 10:00 PM
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AT first glance, Chinese contemporary artist Yang Yongliang's works look like traditional Chinese ink paintings, complete with smoky majestic mountains and quaint fishing villages. But look closer, and those "mountains" turn out to be clusters of grey high-rise buildings, while the "fishing villages" are actually construction cranes.

These works express the 34-year-old artist's view of China's urbanisation and have become some of his most recognised pieces. They can be seen at the ArtScience Museum till November this year, as part of a group photography exhibition titled Flux Realities, which features 63 photography and video works by seven Chinese contemporary artists including Yang, as well as Zhang Dali, Wang Qing Song, Liu Xiaofang, Ma Liang, Wang Ningde and Wei Bi.

"(Yang) is from a generation that saw China change with a snap of a finger - with tall buildings and the development of the landscape," explains the exhibition's curator, Gwen Lee. "And he's trained in ink painting, so to him, it's like this work is preserving the traditions of Chinese painting using new media."

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