New Zealand’s first survey exhibition by Chinese moving-image artist Yang Fudong begins on Saturday 26 September at Auckland Art Gallery, with free entry.
Yang Fudong: Filmscapes showcases three seminal works by the internationally renowned artist and includes his new multi-channel work, The Coloured Sky: New Women II (2014), co-commissioned for the exhibition by Auckland Art Gallery and the Australian Centre for Moving Image (ACMI). Yejiang / The Nightman Cometh (2011) and The Fifth Night (2010) will also be exhibited.
Auckland Art Gallery Principal Curator Zara Stanhope says Fudong is at the forefront of his field worldwide.
‘Yang Fudong is one of the most influential artists to come out of China in the last 20 years. His multi-channel film installations are respected and recognised internationally, so it is a privilege to hold his first New Zealand survey exhibition at Auckland Art Gallery,’ she says.
Born in Beijing and based in Shanghai, Yang Fudong emerged in the international arts scene when he started working with photography, multi-channel video installations and single-channel films more than a decade ago.
Drawing on periods of Chinese and Western cinema (particularly film noir and French avant-garde), Fudong’s expansive 35mm film and digital video installations are rooted in the traditions of Chinese literature, philosophy and art.
Often described as lyrical and dreamlike, the artist’s works feature long sequences, spiralling narratives and multiple perspectives to convey his stories. They show Fudong’s reflections on the psychology of a new generation grappling to find its place in modern-day China.
Fudong examines the dramatic transformation of Chinese contemporary life through a powerful lens that has been shown to be accessible to audiences worldwide.
He addresses China-specific cultural and social issues, as well as universal themes, which include anxiety and disillusion but also wonder and desire, that permeate our contemporary, globalised society.
‘Art should not be exclusive to a specific group of people. It should reflect the artist’s personal aesthetics and characteristics, and also express something universal,’ he says.
The Gallery’s purpose-made exhibition design will direct focus on the large-scale cinematic qualities of Fudong’s celebrated multi-channel works.
Audiences will be encouraged to sit with the works and absorb their otherworldliness in the fully immersive installation.
Auckland Art Gallery Director Rhana Devenport says exhibiting Yang Fudong: Filmscapes is part of the Gallery’s vision to engage with New Zealand’s place in the world.
‘We are part of the Asia Pacific community and we want to acknowledge this with our exhibitions at the Gallery. We also recognise the need to present works that reflect our growing Chinese population here in Auckland city,’ she says.
All five parts of Fudong’s celebrated Seven Intellectuals in a Bamboo Forest 2003 - 2007 will also be shown in the Gallery’s auditorium in a one-off screening to be held during the exhibition.