In Lightscape , painter and photographer Yang Yong illuminates the UCCA Nave with an installation of 200 custom-designed hanging lamps that reflect our obsession with today's global media. Each lamp is hand-painted with attention-grabbing images of famous models, pop culture icons, sports matches, car crashes, natural disasters, scandals and current events. By transferring these provocative visuals onto something as mundane as the household lamp, Yang Yong reminds us of just how mainstream media sensationalism has become. For him and other members of China's digital generation who grew up borrowing, spreading, sharing and appropriating images online, information overload and the media glut are just part of the scenery, as familiar as the furnishings in one's home.
- Jérôme Sans, UCCA Director
Yang Yong: The Testimony of China's 1970s Generation
Yang Yong and his contemporaries are different from any Chinese generation before or since. Born in the 1970s, they lack the staunch beliefs of their parents, the rebellious disillusionments of their older brothers and sisters, and the carefree privilege of the younger 1980s generation. Having lived through a period of massive change, the 1970s generation doesn't take things for granted, because they know it wasn't always this way. They have many common interests and tastes, but few, if any, shared values.
This is why Yang Yong's art is so valuable: his photography, paintings and installations offer us a first-hand testimony of China's "awkward generation." They have access to a vast kaleidoscope of global information, yet
they remain subservient to traditional patterns of dominance. A bar rage of informat ion leaves them feeling anxious, confused and directionless: information is freedom, yet it is also a trap from which they cannot escape. Their utilitarian attitude toward information – picking and choosing what they need and discarding the rest – does not favor the emergence of shared cultural values.
In Lightscape , Yang Yong's solo exhibition at UCCA, his use of images appropriated from the global media provides insight into the cultural mentality of his generation. By superimposing familiar images onto 200 hanging lamps,Yang Yong makes everyday items into cultural metaphors and creates a dazzlingly colorful landscape of the familiar, the bizarre and the surreal.
- Zheng Yan, UCCA Art Department Director
For Lightscape , a continuation of my International Passage/The World Is Yours project, I have created 200 hanging lamps in different shapes and sizes, all decorated with images drawn from the global media. These are the images that have shocked, moved or made an impression on me at certain points in my life. They also reflect the vast reach of today's global media, whose tentacles extend to every corner of the globe.Transforming familiar daily items such as household lamps into vehicles of information, carriers of global images, allows us to see how information radiates outward and narrows the distance between us and the world. In this installation, images and information have been quietly reassembled to create a brand-new and warmer "alternate world" for you to enjoy.
And, as you can see, just because something appears true on the surface doesn't mean it is.
- Yang Yong