This first midcareer survey of the work of Yang Fudong (born in 1971 in Beijing, lives and works in Shanghai) presents photographs, films, and multichannel videos by a leading figure in China’s contemporary art world and independent cinema movement.
Yang’s work reflects 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 he 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.
BAM/PFA’s presentation of Yang’s work includes twenty years of photographs and video installations in the galleries; a focus on one of Yang’s single-channel films daily in the museum theater; and a film series at the PFA Theater co-curated by the artist that focuses on works that have influenced him. In addition,Gazing into Nature: Early Chinese Painting, an exhibition of twelfth- to fifteenth-century Chinese artworks from our collection, highlights the influence of traditional painting on Yang’s work.
Yang Fudong’s Cinematic Influences
August 22–October 6, 2013
In conjunction with the gallery presentation, BAM/PFA presents two films by Yang Fudong—An Estranged Paradise (2002) and The Nightman Cometh (2011)—as well as some of the major cinematic influences on his work, ranging from the decadent aura and black-and-white exquisiteness of Shanghai’s Golden Age of Cinema to the realism and historical investigations of Fifth Generation classics. For film schedule and screening information, visit our website.
Opening public program:
Yang Fudong and Philippe Pirotte in conversation
Tuesday, August 20, 2013, 6pm
Yang Fudong and BAM/PFA Adjunct Senior Curator Philippe Pirotte engage in a conversation focusing on the protagonists of Yang’s films: young Chinese who, like the artist, have grown up in the rapidly transforming society of the new China. What are the ideals and anxieties of this generation? How do they struggle to retain personal dignity in a society adjusting to constant change? How do “minor intellectuals” (Yang’s term) pursue spiritual freedom?
Admission is free.
Yang Fudong: Estranged Paradise, Works 1993–2013 is organized by Adjunct Senior Curator Philippe Pirotte and presented by BAM/PFA and the Kunsthalle Zürich. The exhibition is made possible in part by an anonymous donor; Marian Goodman Gallery; ShanghART Gallery; Dr. Rosalyn M. Laudati and Dr. James Pick; the Sifang Art Museum, Nanjing; the W.L.S. Spencer Foundation; Rena Bransten; Nion McEvoy; an anonymous foundation; and April and Glenn Bucksbaum.
Yang Fudong’s Cinematic Influences is made possible in part by The W.L.S. Spencer Foundation. Series curated by Adjunct Senior Curator Philippe Pirotte in collaboration with Yang Fudong and organized by Senior Film Curator Susan Oxtoby. With thanks to Sun Xianghui and Zhao Jing, China Film Archive; Noah Cowan, TIFF Cinematheque; Weihong Bao, East Asian Languages and Cultures, UC Berkeley; and Brian Loftus, Marian Goodman Gallery.
Yang Fudong: Estranged Paradise. Works 1993–2013
Edited by Philippe Pirotte with texts by Rey Chow, Ho Rui An, and Colin Chinnery
Published by the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Kunsthalle Zürich, and JRP | Ringier, with support by Sifang Art Museum in Nanjing
English and German translation
Softcover with dust jacket; 160 pages
Publication date: September 2013