The exhibition BLUE ROOM by Chinese artist Yang Shaobin deals with the issue of responsibility - of taking responsibility and being held responsible.
We enter a room of large, blue paintings, half-dissolved figures staring back at us from the canvases. Faces of well-known world leaders emerge, including US President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin. These well-known faces hang side by side with portraits of completely unknown adults and children, all victims of pollution and natural disasters.
In BLUE ROOM Yang Shaobin creates an encounter between the powerless, the powerful and the rest of us who look on. Caught in the crossfire of these gazes one has difficulty remaining a spectator, for the paintings stare back, questioning, excusing and accusing. Standing face to face with another human imposes obligations. BLUE ROOM creates a meeting where we are given the opportunity to feel just that.
Inspired by the Climate Change Conference COP15
Yang Shaobin got the idea for BLUE ROOM during a trip from Australia to China, just as the 2009 UN Climate Change Conference was kicking off in Copenhagen. Based on the conference, he started collecting material on pollution and natural disasters along with stories and photographs of some of the ordinary people impacted by the global climate changes.
About the artist
Yang Shaobin, b. 1963, lives and works in Beijing. Yang Shaobin became part of the emerging Chinese art scene in the 1990s. His sociocritical paintings deal with subjects like violence, oppression and poverty, globally as well as locally, as also seen in his depictions of the working conditions of Chinese coalminers.
Yang Shaobin previously showed at ARKEN in the 2009 group exhibition CHINAMANIA.