MEETING YANG JIECHANG AT GALLERY WEEKEND BERLIN
It’s May 1st and Berlin is out on its feet … While parks get crowded and the music rises, we are heading to ARNDT gallery to meet one of China´s most influential artists: Yang Jiechang is in the middle of installing his newest impressive works in the spacious rooms of ARNDT. One night later he will be opening the exhibition „Die Rechnung bitte“ at the occasion of the 10th Gallery Weekend Berlin.
We enter ARNDT walking into a quiet and peaceful space. Yang is sitting with his wife and creates in a few seconds a very sweet and calm atmosphere. We walk through the gallery rooms, chatting away and eye-crossing the massive black-blushed paintings. Yang gets posted where he wants the interview – near the injured man once painted and signed by Hitler: „Die Rechnung bitte“. The title of the exhibition descends from this work of Yang Jiechang. It is part of a series in which the artist aims to put himself into Hitler’s position by retracing and editing artworks by Adolf Hitler. Not too surprising, Hitler’s choice of subject was limited to images of the death, the suffering of his comrades and destruction of villages and monuments. By reciting some of Hitler’s works Yang Jiechang creates an “image against the war”. He attemps not to show the dictator but the artist himself: the reversal of something negative to something positive. There is an interplay, but anything than “the trivialization of the bloody madness”.
We discover Jiechang’s signature above Hitler’s: why? how? Questions start to fuse … Camera rolling!
YANG JIECHANG: BETWEEN ZEN, ESSENCE, INK, SILK AND LIGHT
Yang Jiechang was born in 1956 in Foshan (South China). 10 years later, Mao Tsé-Toung proclaims the Cultural Revolution which will deeply affect the young Yang. He will leave in 1978 and dedicate himself to an intense education at the Fine Art Academy of Canton, studying calligraphy and traditional chinese ink art. Triggered by a curiousity going beyond Arts and History, Yang spends some essential years of his life learning and experiencing Zen Buddhism and Taoïsm. This will lead him to a formal artistic expression and language based on the simplicity and the essence. He learned and believes that the „traditional expression“ does not depend at all on a static form but on everyday actions which progress in an infinite way.
The real aspect is without forms
seems to have driven his art work for more than 30 years now and nourishes his life with an accumulation of moments, sensations and knowledge which change and progress with time. Yang Jiechang translates this into his art work using calligraphy and traditional painting on silk, video, photography, installations and performances – resorting to sound, music and multimedia in an ongoing process, like sensations or events coming from a very alive form of Art.
Exhibited for the first time out of China in the beginning of 1990, Yang Jiechang becomes famous through his series „One Hundread Layers of Ink“ – exposed at Centre George Pompidou (Paris). This piece will get the attention of the Art scene – intrigued and appeased by these mental landscapes both contemplative and dynamic, empty and full, discreet and powerful … with those abstract variating forms playing with the light – endlessly. Now known worldwide, Yang Jiechang still captures, questions and appeases. At ARNDT gallery you will get a taste of it.
‘Die Rechnung bitte’ is on show from May 3rd until June 28th 2014.
Galerie Arndt // Potsdamer Strasse // Berlin
Read more about Galerie ARNDT in the ARTberlin Gallery Guide: Galerie ARNDT
Interview: Marie Polo // Video: Matthias Maercks