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Chinese artist Yang Yongliang presents the ancient tradition of Chinese landscape painting

Utah Museum of Fine Art gallery (UMFA)

Chinese artist Yang Yongliang presents the ancient tradition of Chinese landscape painting (shanshui) through a twenty-first-century photographic lens in a new exhibition at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA) at the University of Utah.

salt 14: Yang Yongliang opens Friday, October 26, and will be on view through June 2, 2019. Yang will give a free artist talk Wednesday, April 3, at 7 pm at the UMFA.

Digital photography is Yang’s ink, and editing software is his brush. Trained in classical calligraphy and painting as well as in emergent digital technologies, Yang constructs his imaginary landscapes by densely layering thousands of black-and-white digital photographs that he has taken on the busy streets of Shanghai and in other expanding cities across Asia to create a new, yet reminiscent, landscape.

“Yang’s images are powerful, raising urgent questions about our relationship with the earth and technology, while simultaneously interrogating artistic practice, challenging traditional techniques and blurring the lines between image and object, digital and physical, real and imagined,” says Whitney Tassie, UMFA senior curator and curator of modern and contemporary art. Tassie and Luke Kelly, associate curator of collections and antiquities, co-curated the exhibition consisting of seven internally-lit landscapes: a monumental 4K video and 6 small photographs housed in carefully crafted wooden light boxes.

As a young artist, Yang (Chinese, born in Shanghai, 1980) studied traditional Chinese painting with calligraphy master Yang Yang for ten years before graduating from China Academy of Art in Shanghai with a degree in Visual Communication in 2003. Yang’s work has been exhibited internationally at biennials such as Thessaloniki Biennale in Greece (2009), Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing (2012), National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne (2012), Moscow Biennale (2013), Metropolitan Museum of Art New York (2013), Daegu Photo Biennale in Korea (2014), Singapore ArtScience Museum (2014), Modern Art Museum Paris (2015), Fukuoka Asian Art Museum (2015), Somerest House London (2016, 2013), and the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney (2016, 2011). His work is in many notable public collections including the British Museum, Brooklyn Museum, How Art Museum in Shanghai, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, San Francisco Asian Art Museum and many more. Yang Yongliang currently lives and works in New York City.

salt is the UMFA’s ongoing program of exhibitions that showcase work by emerging artists from around the world. salt aims to reflect the impact of contemporary art, forging connections to the global and bringing new and diverse artwork to the city that shares the program’s name.

The salt series is made possible by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

Free Public Programs

Third Saturday for Families: Collage Landscapes
Saturday, January 19 | 1–4 pm | FREE

It’s your turn to be a cutting-edge contemporary artist. Get inspired by salt 14 artist Yang Yongliang and create your own collage landscape.

Artist Talk & Film Screening | Yang Yongliang
Wednesday, April 3 | 7 pm | FREE | UMFA’s Katherine W. and Ezekiel R. Dumke Jr. Auditorium

Watch Yang’s 58-minute experimental digital film Fall into Oblivion (2015) and stay for a moderated conversation with the artist.

Supported by the University of Utah Confucius Institute and the Rosaline Pao Chinese Forum.