On the Quiet Water - Underwater Paradise (止水之上 － 水下乐园)
On View: Asian Galleries, Southwest, 2nd floor
In this panoramic work, Yang Yongliang digitally manipulates photographic images to deconstruct the skyline of modern-day Shanghai and to comment on the environmental ravages caused by China’s unbridled modernization. His handscroll evokes the harmonious landscapes and visual poetry of classic Southern Song paintings (1127–1279), in which delicate gradations of ink wash and textured brush strokes were used to depict mountains shrouded in mist and surrounded by watery shoals and rocky shores. In this landscape, what appear to be mountains are formed of densely layered images of monumental skyscrapers, and pine trees are instead made of sprawling construction cranes and electrical pylons. The surging tsunami sweeping through the dystopian landscape foreshadows the ecological destruction. Reflecting on the traumatic loss of traditional urban architecture and ways of life, Yang says:
City and Landscape: I love them and hate them at the same time. I love the familiarity of the city, but more so I hate it growing too fast and invading everything around it at an unexpected speed. The ancient Chinese expressed their appreciation of nature and feeling for it by painting the landscape. In contrast, I make my landscape to criticize the realities [before] my eyes.
Media inkjet print on paper, mounted as a hand scroll
image: 19 11/16 × 111 13/16 in. (50 × 284 cm)
mount: 20 7/8 × 210 1/16 in. (53 × 533.6 cm)
Gift of Dr. Myron Arlen, Benjamin Faber, Dr. Ellen Pan, and Dr. John Tchang, by exchange
© Yang Yongliang
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Yang Yongliang (Chinese, born 1980). On the Quiet Water - Underwater Paradise (止水之上 － 水下乐园), 2008. Media inkjet print on paper, mounted as a hand scroll, image: 19 11/16 × 111 13/16 in. (50 × 284 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Dr. Myron Arlen, Benjamin Faber, Dr. Ellen Pan, and Dr. John Tchang, by exchange, 2017.2. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: , 2017.2_detail01_PS11.jpg)
detail, 2017.2_detail01_PS11.jpg., 2018
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Digitally-manipulated photographic images of sky scrapers, electrical towers, ferris wheels, and other man-made structures combined to emulate the forms and textures of a traditional Chinese landscape painting in ink.
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