"Entrails of the World" the Concept of Yang Hong's Work
Source:Artintern.net Author:Wu Hong Date: 2010-11-27 Size:
YANG Hong is from Dalian—a coastal city in northeast China, was graduated from Oil Painting Department at Lu Xun Academy of Fine Arts in Shenyang. He and I have known each other for nearly ten years.

YANG Hong is from Dalian—a coastal city in northeast China, was graduated from Oil Painting Department at Lu Xun Academy of Fine Arts in Shenyang. He and I have known each other for nearly ten years. When we met, he was created a batch of very refined work, for he thought that in a way of Chinese tradition some utensils’ shapes contained profound sense of philosophy and cosmology. He regarded them as “treasures” and kept them away from people so as to let them explore, in the duration of searching, one can also bring the traditional values back in view, somewhat similar to the “Terma” and “Discovering Treasures” of the unity of opposites in Tibetan Buddhism. Those works is obvious in line with his knowledge transmitted from his family, for his father is the Dean at a local college of fine arts. Therefore, if he continued with such style, his work would have had a “reasonable” explaination. But, five or six years ago, he had experienced a transformation of personal style, which not only meant a change of artistic genre also a convert of “temperament”. As he said to me that most of his works he showed now were repainted, thus, we can sense that the transition was a difficult but definite process.

To tell you the truth, by then, I could not fully understand that what YANG Hong’s exact intention was to produce such work. Ever since, I did have chances to visit him in his studio every other year and, by seeing his painting, I constantly go further in understanding of his thought. Instinctively, I seem to have felt some certain prophetic meanings, even a kind of potential uneasiness through his work. It makes me surprised that as a person like him whom relatively has a comfortable life can reveal such temperament. When he himself thought that he could take the batch of work to exhibit as a whole, there was an incident—oil leakage—happened in his hometown Dalian, through which I understand the connotation of his work even more, especially when connected to the environmental disaster.

Dalian is a coastal city, as the saying goes “living from what the land and sea can give”, the residents there have tightly bounded to the sea. For man like me I have spent most of my life inland, my concept of sea is mostly linked to mysterious and romantic. Until I watched , a documentary film directed by Louie Psihoyos, tells the amazing true story of how people embarked on a covert mission to penetrate a hidden cove, shining light on a dark and deadly secret, in which I first knew how sea acted as the world’s viscera bearing the crisis caused by mankind—everything circulated with us. The mysteries it uncovered were only the tip of the iceberg.

What YANG Hong painted is the fish guts, as a coastal dweller that is the food he takes and observes daily. Moreover, what did the artist find from these stuff? Apparently, I think he found a supporter or symbol for acquainting himself with the universe. Even if the sectional enlarged piece looks like an abstract painting, he was still trying to express his assurance of space with psychological suggestion. This kind mould of a symbolic object will help him to gain spiritual projection, which appeared as a logic language in his early work. What I interested in his latest works showed here is, by its image and brushstrokes, where the restlessness, anxiety emotions come from?

Maybe, this should regard as a spirit temperament of a era. Such as the romantic literature in the 19th century, those sensitive and incompatible leading characters carried a melancholy and depressive outlook were often called the “blue of times”. We may as well point out YANG Hong’s work as “anxiety of times.” It is the characteristic of an era, a psychological prophecy could be realized by the most sensitive people of the era.

Desire is the power to promote the world forward, however, when such a “driving force” becomes unable to control the society will go crazy. Thus, environmental and social problems caused by it will change into the anxiety of the era. Still, I do not think it is a kind of fable of “2012”since there are several artists have indicated the same sentiments. Through plenty use of stifling of flesh pink, depressive ochre, or gloomy grey in YANG Hong’s work, it deepens the impression on one’s mood.

So, I think his work delivers only an idea. Thus, if we get entangled in the abstraction and concrete issue, we cannot be more appropriate to grasp the accurate information his work passed on. As we know, the concept of “Abstractionism” means the judgement toward the world perspective. But, the both “abstract language” and “abstract meaning” are the artistic techniques or drawing style of visual aesthetics. Therefrom, the work of YANG Hong is obvious not in the domain of “Abstract Expression”. But, what is worth discussing is the “abstract implication” appeared in his work.

Based on the concrete, the works displayed here are no longer confined visual actuality, but to convey the reality of psychology. The judge of value and emotion delivering of subjectivity, both formed the visual feature of “abstract meaning” in front of viewers. At one hand, the “image” in YANG Hong’s work acts as an “isotopic carrier” of perception communicating; on the other hand, the brushworks and colours are freely released in full which even reaches the visual effect of Action Painting. Such outstanding features are reflected in the techniques used in his recent works.

Because of this, the image is recognizable and transferable, and meanwhile, it can be transcended into a more essential meaningfulness. Though the “fish guts” in these works are real, it also points to a wider category as the “entrails of the world”. Here, the signifier and signified of “internal organs” are disconnected which need our own interpretation. And, during the combination, it will be fully mobilized up the audiences’ sense of participation and interactivity.

Once the fish guts are seen as the internal of the world, the problem fish has will become the mankind issue. It is a sense of circulation, also a prophecy of human future—mankind will be the victims and objects engulfed by our own desires.

[Editor] Elemy Liu