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Yang Fudong

Marian Goodman Gallery Author: Brian Sholis 2006

Yang Fudong
24 West 57th Street
September 07–October 14

Those who have seen this Chinese artist's earlier films will find familiar imagery scattered throughout No Snow on the Broken Bridge, 2006: a freeze-frame tableau in which seven young men and women, dressed in a haberdasher's finest, look outward from a rocky outcrop; boats slowly drifting across placid waters; lush, unpopulated landscapes dominated by mountains. This eleven-minute black-and-white work, which premiered last spring at Parasol Unit in London, is Fudong's inaugural foray into multichannel presentation. A viewer's slightly antic attempt to take in images from eight screens, here hung in a seamless semicircle, marginally diminishes the arrested-moment quality that characterizes all his films—it's plain he trained as a painter—but Fudong aids the viewer by occasionally letting objects slide from one screen to the next or by nestling similar images side by side (ants threading through rivulets of bark; men hiking a narrow path up a hill). Like all of Fudong's work, the narrative is loosely structured, favoring centripetal forces over linear paths. Here, glamorous young men and women are slowly pulled together as, alone or in pairs and quartets, they wend their way toward the eponymous bridge to catch a last glimpse of winter snow; the rabbits, parrots, and stubborn goats on leashes that accompany them hint at the dandyish excess of a bygone era. Some women make their way, in heels, along flat boulders set in a babbling brook; others wear suits and painted mustaches. A man in a trilby puffs contemplatively on a pipe while being conveyed across open water. Not much of significance transpires, but in a film this beautiful, this suffused with atmosphere, not much needs to.

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