This first midcareer survey of the work of Yang Fudong (b. 1971) presents photographs, films, and multichannel videos by a leading figure in China’s contemporary art world and independent cinema movement.
Born in 1971 and raised in Beijing and initially trained as a painter in Hangzhou, Yang eventually switched his course of study to film and photography. Many of Yang’s films, rooted in traditional Chinese painting and in Chinese cinema from the 1930s and 1940s, have an atemporal and dreamlike quality, marked by long and suspended sequences, dividing narratives, and multiple relationships and storylines. They reflect the ideals and anxieties of his generation, a generation born during and after the Cultural Revolution that is struggling to find its place in the rapidly changing society of the new China.
Although Yang draws much of his subject matter from the consumerist contexts of contemporary urban China, many of his images recall the literati paintings of the seventeenth century (Yang first trained in painting before switching to photography and filmmaking). His films have an atemporal and dreamlike quality, marked by long and suspended sequences, divided narratives, and multiple relationships and storylines. In his recent installations, Yang reflects on the process of filmmaking itself, creating spatially open-ended multichannel films that he likens to traditional Chinese hand scrolls.
Yang Fudong: Estranged Paradise is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog featuring texts by Pirotte, Colin Chinnery, Ho Rui An, and Rey Chow.
The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive Website