salt 14: Yang Yongliang

salt 14: Yang Yongliang

Utah Museum of Fine Arts

Yang Yongliang, Prevailing Winds, 2017. 4K video, 7 minutes. Courtesy of the artist.

October 23, 2018
salt 14: Yang Yongliang
October 26, 2018–June 2, 2019
Utah Museum of Fine Arts
Marcia and John Price Museum Building
410 Campus Center Drive
Salt Lake City, Utah 84112-0350
United States
Hours: Tuesday–Saturday 10am–5pm,
Wednesday 10am–9pm

T +1 801 581 7328
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Talk & screening: Fall Into Oblivion, followed by conversation with Yang. 
Katherine W. and Ezekiel R. Dumke Jr. Auditorium 

Third Saturday for Families: Collage Landscapes
Family art making inspired by salt 14 artist Yang Yongliang 

Yang Yongliang presents the ancient tradition of Chinese landscape painting (shanshui) through a twenty-first-century photographic lens. Yang adheres to traditional formal requirements for depicting humans among mountains, water, and meandering pathways and, in keeping with shanshui concepts, creates images of what he thinks about nature, not what he has seen. But Yang, who is trained in classical calligraphy and painting as well as in emergent digital technologies, constructs his imaginary landscapes by densely layering thousands of black-and-white digital photographs that he has taken on the busy streets of Shanghai and in other expanding cities across Asia. Yang’s majestic, craggy mountains appear to be merely photographs of landscapes, but a closer looks reveals that they are actually comprised of skyscrapers, cranes, and electrical power lines.

Adaptation and transformation are not new in Chinese art and culture. Through more than 2,000 years of Chinese landscape painting, artists have continually introduced new motifs to fully express their changing world. Extending this practice and bridging the enormous divide between traditional and contemporary China, Yang’s landscapes reveal the impacts of the rapid urbanization and industrialization that have swept through his country over the past three decades. His epic landscapes blur the lines between seemingly binary pairings such as image/object, digital/physical, and real/imagined while simultaneously interrogating the concept of progress and raising urgent questions about humanity’s relationship with the earth and technology.

For salt 14, Yang utilizes new processes to help realize his vision. Prevailing Winds (2017) is among his first 4k videos that bring to life his urbanscapes in minute detail. The six light boxes exemplify the artist’s desire to document a digital image using traditional photographic techniques. First, Yang prints his digital creations in reverse on a fine arts paper. Then, he photographs the paper on film.  Finally, the film is hand developed to produce an image for display in a custom-built back-lit box.

As a young artist, Yang Yongliang (Chinese, born in Shanghai, 1980) studied traditional Chinese painting with calligraphy master Yang Yang for ten years before graduating from China Academy of Art in Shanghai with a degree in Visual Communication in 2003. Yang’s work has been exhibited internationally at biennials, such as Thessaloniki Biennale in Greece (2009), Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing (2012), National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne (2012), Moscow Biennale (2013), Metropolitan Museum of Art New York (2013), Daegu Photo Biennale in Korea (2014), Singapore ArtScience Museum (2014), Modern Art Museum Paris (2015), Fukuoka Asian Art Museum (2015), Somerest House London (2016, 2013), and the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney (2016, 2011). His work is in many notable public collections including the British Museum, Brooklyn Museum, How Art Museum in Shanghai, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, San Francisco Asian Art Museum and many more. Yang Yongliang currently lives and works in New York City.

Yang Yongliang is the fourteenth artist in the UMFA’s salt series of contemporary art. This ongoing program of exhibitions showcases work by emerging artists from around the world. salt aims to reflect the impact of contemporary art, forging connections to the global and bringing new and diverse artwork to the city that shares the program’s name.

The salt series is made possible by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Additional support for salt 14 is made possible by the University of Utah Confucius Institute and the Rosaline Pao Chinese Forum.

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Utah Museum of Fine Arts
October 23, 2018

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