Yang Fudong’s compelling view of a far from ordinary life

The acclaimed Beijing-born artist uses his ‘camera to paint’ with a ‘dream-like mystery’

Yang Fudong is one of the most successful and influential contemporary artists in China.

His work has been exhibited across the world from New York to London and from Paris to Sydney. 

As he nears his 50th birthday, Yang has developed a significant body of work, with a visual language wrapped in a “dream-like mystery.”

“You could say that I’m just an artist who paints with a camera. I want to search for freer ways of making films and images,” he said in a video, entitled I Paint With a Camera, for TateShots, which you can view here.

“The themes I work with come from underlying things in people’s lives. The things that hide beneath the surface.They are separate from external, material life,” Yang added.

Although he was born in Beijing, he now lives and works in Shanghai, mixing film and photograph with setpiece installations.

The Marian Goodman Gallery described the “characters” used in his art as “often silent and disembodied.”

“[They] usually move according to choreographed gestures and transport the viewer into an aesthetically perfect environment. His work deliberately suspends and confuses time,” it said.

»An exhibition of Yang’s work, entitled Endless Peaks, can be seen at the ShanghART Gallery until January 24. Below are images from the collection.

Endless Peaks | 2020

Overview: Light and shade with spot colors illustrate the work of Yang Fudong at the ShangART Gallery. A combination of photography and film has been a highlight of his artistic approach.

Photo: Courtesy of ShanghART

Endless Peaks | Formless Hermits 1 | 2020

Material: Mineral pigments and acrylic on wooden board

Dimensions: 30 cm x 18 cm

Image: Courtesy ShanghART

Endless Peaks | It’s the Wind 2 | 2020

Material: Wooden board, drawing, acrylic, photography in three pieces

Dimensions: 30 cm x 18 cm for each piece

Images: Courtesy ShanghART

Endless Peaks | Propitious Clouds | 2020

Material: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 35 cm x 24 cm

Image: Courtesy ShanghART

Endless Peaks I Beyond Tiantai I 2020

Material: Photography

Dimensions: 65 cm x 43.3 cm

Image: Courtesy ShanghART