The work is a collaboration of the artist and his wife, Zhang Tiemei. The husband and wife team works in synergy, incorporating the shan-shui landscape tradition by making use of the surface of the human body in place of conventional rice paper. Huang Yan also utilizes digital techniques to reproduce his images, blurring the line between the conventional and the avant-garde even further.
By redefining his own body as a canvas and combining imagery of traditional Chinese ink painting with a contemporary setting, Huang Yan creates a new conceptual context. As artists and subjects of their own investigation, Huang Yan and Zhang Tiemei reflect the omnipresent cultural angst of their generation in contemporary China. "The fact is, beyond the characteristic of being ‘painted in the colors of traditional culture’, Huang Yan’s work projects a profound anxiety that constitutes one of the most central components of his narrative discourse" (Zhang Zhaohui).
The exhibition conceptualizes Huang Yan’s occupation with this subject-matter, focusing intentionally on his series which work with the human body: Ballet Landscape (2006), Couple Landscape (2006), Model Family Landscape (2006), Dismantle Landscape (2005), Brother and Sister (2006) and Chinese Shan-Shui Tattoo (1999).
Born in Jilin Province, Huang Yan is a painter, sculptor, photographer and performance artist and currently divides his time between Changchun and Beijing. He graduated from the Changchun Normal Academy, where he presently lectures. His most significant shows include: 100 International Artists at the Casoria Contemporary Art Museum, 2005, Italy; Between the Past and the Future at the International Center of Photography, 2004, NYC; Guangzhou Triennial Exhibition at the Guangdong Museum of Art, 2002; 1st Chinese Art Triennial, Guangzhou Art Museum, 2002; Canton Triennial, Canton Museum of Fine Arts, 2002, China; The Turn of the Century: Exhibition of Chinese Art 1979-1999, Chengdu Museum of Modern Art, 1999, China; The East is Red, Victoria and Albert Museum, 1999, London UK.