Yang Yongliang in January 2014

Yang Yongliang

China 1980

Installation, Photography, Video Art, Painting


Yang Yongliang
Yang Yongliang
October 21, 2015
Nina Karaicic is a journalist with experience in TV and radio media. Born in 1989, she had studied at the University of Belgrade – Faculty of Political Sciences (Journalism). Interests: Photography, Art, Film, Folklore, Video Games

Yang Yongliang is a Chinese contemporary artist, whose incredible mixture of traditional Chinese art and cutting-edge technology yields stunning landscape images that combine the old-school Chinese art and modern day themes. Yang works in painting, photography, video art and installation, sometimes successfully merging his media.

From The New World, 2014

Yang Yongliang 2014 2013
Yang Yongliang – From The New World, 2014

Background and Formative Years

Yongliang was born on July 27, 1980, in Jiading, a suburban district of Shanghai in China. From an early age, Yang showed interest in calligraphy and traditional Chinese painting, also known as shui mo, which he explored and shaped with the help of Yang Yang, a professor at Hong Kong Chinese University. In 1995, Yang finished Shanghai Arts and Crafts Vocational School, and four years later, in 1999, he graduated from China National Academy of Fine Arts in Shanghai, where he majored in Visual Communication. Along with several friends, he established a studio in 2004, and subsequently assumed the position of Art Director of the studio. From 2005 onward, Yang has been striving towards creating new forms of contemporary art by combining photography and video art. Yongliang also worked as a tutor at Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts from 2006 until 2008.

A Bowl of Taipei series

Left Yang Yongliang - A Bowl of Taipei No.1, 2012, Right Yang Yongliang - A Bowl of Taipei No.5, 2012
Left: Yang Yongliang – A Bowl of Taipei No.1, 2012 / Right: Yang Yongliang – A Bowl of Taipei No.5, 2012

Style and Techniques

Yang Yongliang’s images perfectly capture the essence of Chinese Shanshui paintings. But they are only seemingly that. Upon a closer inspection, complex modern cityscapes emerge. By using traditional Chinese ink-wash painting and photography, Yang blurs the fine lines between the conventional and modern. Shanghai, his native city, serves as a major source of inspiration for Yongliang’s artworks, as the elements of China’s most populous city (such as traffic signs and construction sites) appear in almost every image, revealing current urban culture. Harmony rules Yang’s pictures, balancing the conflicting elements such as gentleness and vigor, ugliness and beauty. His work leaves his audience baffled by issues concerning culture and fast-developing society.

Silent Valley series

Yang Yongliang - A Crocodile and Shotgun - Silent Valley series, 2012 2013
Yang Yongliang – A Crocodile and Shotgun – Silent Valley series, 2012

Video Art by Yang Yongliang

Photography to Video

Yongliang manages to bring his photographs to life by converting them to video. He goes around a city, usually a fast-developing one, and snaps photos using a digital camera. His many views of the cityscape are used as the building blocks for his work. The computer is his tool. Yang combines a vast number of his digital photographs and expands them by adding animations to the image. In his Phantom Landscape for example, Yongliang creates mountains from the buildings, rivers from urban waste and the forest from cranes and towers. The piece indeed looks like an intricate mixture of collage and painting, and it captures the Shanshui style. However, everything is composed of manmade objects; not even an inch of the landscape has anything “natural”.

Heavenly City

Heavenly City is a series of photographs created in 2008. It shows a cloud of dust rising from a city, which looks like an explosion. From the cloud, a new city emerges, with roads and highways jutting out of the smoke. The series could be the artist’s way of acknowledging and dealing with the issues that we face nowadays. It could also be seen as an ominous prediction of an impending doom – the threat that urban development poses.

The Moonlight installation

Yang Yongliang - The Moonlight installation, 2012 2013
Yang Yongliang – The Moonlight installation, 2012

Exhibitions and Awards

Yang Yongliang has received numerous awards for his highly acclaimed artworks, including a Gold World Medal at New York Festivals in 2009, and a Silver Award in 2010 at Clio Awards. His images have been exhibited extensively around the globe. Some of his more notable shows include Wonderland, a 2011 exhibition in Luxembourg, Moonlight, a 2012 solo exhibition that was organized by Magda Danysz Gallery in Shanghai, and most recently Landscapes in 2014, a show held at Magda Danysz as well.

Yang’s artworks are a part of many collections, including Nevada Museum of Art, British Museum, and Bibliotheque nationale de France in Paris, to name a few. He is represented by Magda Danysz Gallery.

Yang Yongliang currently resides and works in Shanghai, China.

All images copyright © the artist

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2014Yang Yongliang Solo ExhibitionSophie Maree Gallery, Den Haag, NetherlandSolo
2014Human LandscapeDominik Mersch Gallery, Sydney, AustraliaGroup
2014Art & ArcadeMU Strijp-S, Eindhoven, NetherlandsGroup
2014Outside the Lines - New Art From ChinaRH Contemporary Art, New York, USAGroup
2014Tradition-Reversal - Sarajevo Winter, the 30th International Festival of SarajevoCollegium Artisticum, Sarajevo, Bosnia and HerzegovinaGroup
2013Moonlit MetropolisSchoeni Art Gallery, Hong Kong, ChinaSolo
2013Silent ValleyMC2 Gallery, Milano, ItalySolo
2013The MoonlightGalerie Paris-Beijing, Paris, FranceSolo
2013Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary ChinaMetropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USAGroup
2013Insightful CharismaHimalayas Art Museum, Shanghai, ChinaGroup
2013DE LEUR TEMPSHangar à Bananes Art Center, Nantes, FranceGroup
2013Images Festival: How far away is the horizon?Holbæk, DenmarkGroup
2013Occupy UtopiaCopenhagen, DenmarkGroup
2013Seven sunsets, waiting dawns, all in one. How to kill a wondrous time…not wanting a thousand hoursShanghai Gallery of Art, Shanghai, ChinaGroup
2013Space-time: 5th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary ArtMoscow, Russia Group
2013New Ink: An Exhibition of Ink Art by Post-1970 Artists from the Yiqingzhai CollectionSotheby’s Hong Kong Gallery, Hong Kong, ChinaGroup
2013Et la Chine s’est éveillée…Espace d’art contemporain Thonon-Les-Bains, Thonon-les-bains, FranceGroup
2013Stad in Beeld, Beeld van een StadStedelijk Museum Zwolle, Zwolle, NetherlandsGroup
2013Venti d'orienteGalleria Al Blu di Prussia, Naples, ItalyGroup
2013Dreamers: AlexandFelix - Alessandro Lupi - Yang YongliangPalazzo Tagliaferro Contemporary Culture Center, Milano, ItalyGroup
2013Landmark: The Fields of PhotographySomerset House, London, UKGroup
2012The MoonlightMagda Danysz Galleries, Shanghai, ChinaSolo
2012A Sprinkle of Salt: Shi Zhiying - Yang YongliangMOT ARTS, Taipei, TaiwanDuo
2012Printed Image in China 8th - 21th CenturyMetropolitan Museum of Art, New YorkGroup
2012Conceptual Renewal - Short History of Chinese Contemporary Photographical ArtSiShang Art Museum, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2012Creators Project: Beijing 2012Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2012Damaged Heritage: Jiangnan in Contemporary PhotographyBottega Veneta Art Space, Shanghai, ChinaGroup
2012BabelMuseum of Fine Arts of Lille, Lille, FranceGroup
2012Time CatcherNational Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, AustraliaGroup
2011The Peach ColonyGalerie Paris-Beijing, Beijing, ChinaSolo
2011The Peach Blossom Colony18 Gallery, Shanghai, ChinaSolo
2011Window 70th: Yang YongliangGallery Jinsun, Seoul, KoreaSolo
2011One Hundred flowersArt Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, AustraliaGroup
2011Metropolis - City Life in the Urban AgeNoorderlicht International Photo festival, Groningen, NetherlandsGroup
2011The eye is a lonely hunter: images of humankind4th edition of the Fotofestival, Mannheim - Ludwigshafen - Heidbelberg, GermanyGroup
2011Shan Shui - Poetry without sound - Chinese contemporary landscapes from the Sigg CollectionKunstmuseum Luzern, SwitzerlandGroup
2011Words and Dreams: Where technology meets dreams and vice versa18 Gallery, Shanghai, ChinaGroup
2010Heavenly CityMC2 Gallery, Milan, ItalySolo
2010Views from China: Yang Yongliang and The Modern MetropolisNevada Museum of Art, Reno, USASolo
2010Artistic Conception: LandscapeMy Humble House, Taipei, Taiwan Solo
2010Heavenly CityGalerie Paris-Beijing, Paris, FranceSolo
2010Artificial Wonderland18 Gallery, Shanghai, ChinaSolo
2010Yang Yongliang SoloMelbourne Intercultural Fine Art, Melbourne, AustraliaSolo
2010China’s Soul: Maleonn - Yang Yongliang - Zhang DaliMagda Danysz Galleries, Paris, FranceGroup
2010Digital GenerationParis-Beijing Photo Gallery, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2010China’s Soul: Maleonn - Yang Yongliang - Zhang DaliMagda Danysz Galleries, Paris, FranceGroup
2009Yang Yongliang Photographic WorksLimn Art Gallery, San Francisco, USASolo
2009City of Phantom VisionsOFOTO Gallery, Shanghai, China Solo
2009On the Quiet Water45 Downstairs Gallery, Melbourne, AustraliaSolo
2009China Avant Garde – Landscape in TransitLimn Art Gallery, San Francisco, USAGroup
2009Urban UtopiaCharly Bailly Contemporary, Geneva, SwitzerlandGroup
2009Drama - Stage, Urban Photography in ShanghaiLiu Haisu Art Museum, ShanghaiGroup
20092nd Thessaloniki BiennaleThessaloniki, GreeceGroup
2009Discovery Award40th Anniversary of the Rencontres d’Arles, Arles, FranceGroup
2009Stairway to Heaven: From Chinese Streets to Monument and SkyscraperProject Walls, H&R Block Artspace, Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, USAGroup
2008Heavenly City & On the Quiet WaterOFOTO Gallery, Shanghai, ChinaSolo
2008Two Points: 2008 Chinese Contemporary ArtPalazzo Frisacco, Tolmezzo, ItalyGroup
2008Stairway to Heaven: From Chinese Street to Monument and SkyscraperBates College Museum of Art, Maine, USAGroup
2008Artificial NatureMOCA Art Lab, Shanghai, ChinaGroup
2008Material Link - A Dialogue Between Greek and Chinese ArtistsMOCA, Shanghai, China and AthensGroup
2008Shanghai (Urban Public) SpaceHamburg, GermanyGroup
2008Mixed MazeRed Mansion Foundation, London, UKGroup
2007Phantom Landscape II & IIIOFOTO Gallery, Shanghai, ChinaSolo
2007Art Now 2007Danwon Arts Festival - Contemporary Art Festival, Gyeonggido Museum of Modern Art, Ansan, KoreaGroup
2006Phantom LandscapeOFOTO Gallery, Shanghai, ChinaSolo