Chambers Fine Art is pleased to announce the opening of Artists continue to try hard by Yang Jiechang, the artist’s first solo exhibition in the United States. Born in 1956 in Guangdong Province, Yang Jiechang currently lives and works in Heidelberg, Germany and Paris. After graduating from the Guangzhou Fine Arts Academy in 1982, he took up a rigorous study of the Tao with the Taoist master, Huangtao. Simultaneously he became active in the contemporary art scene in China which was then undergoing rapid development. One of his aims is to promote autonomous regional and marginal expression. Yang Jiechang gained international recognition through the exhibition of his large monochrome ink paintings, severe in their abstraction and spirituality, in "Les magiciens de la terre" in the Centre Pompidou in Paris in 1989. A selection of these important early works is currently included in the opening exhibition of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing. Nevertheless, his œuvre comprises a variety of media: painting, video, installation, and interventions.
Yang Jiechang’s solo exhibition entitled Artists continue to try hard is about self-cultivation as a kind of transformational activist strategy. At first sight the relatively conventional subject – self-portrait – mainly formulated in the traditional technique of ink painting and calligraphy –insinuates a rather predictable approach and series of paintings. Yet, Yang surprises the viewer through an ensemble of very original and naughty works, comprising a large self-portrait as standing nude beside which the title of the exhibition written in the artist’s handwriting in neon, and “Oh, My God” and “Oh, Diu” is written in the artist’s handwriting in neon, large calligraphies accompanied by video projections showing Yang writing and pronouncing the content of the calligraphies, and two other neon works. Both the emphasis on the calligraphic line and the reduction of colour highlight the aspect of activism and allude to the coarse aesthetics of Taoism and its philosophy of self-cultivation and sublimation. The kind of activist self-cultivation propagated here speaks of the artist’s conviction that every change first has to take part in the individual himself. The large neon calligraphy Artists continue try hard is part of Yang’s series 100% Permission by… that reinterprets works of other artists, in this case a work by Roberto Martinez. By including the contributions of other artists in his work and making them part of his concept and plan, change is spread from the individual to a larger community.
这次杨诘苍的个人展览《艺术家还要再努力 》是为绕自我修身作为转化了的激进主义战略的主题而展开的。作品的内容相对来说较为传统——以古典的水墨画及书法创作的自画像——也许会使观众联想到程式化的解释和创作手段。但是，杨诘苍的作品却充满了原创性甚至捣蛋性：一个大的裸体自画像站立在艺术家手写的展览标题的霓虹灯旁；艺术家手写的“Oh, My God”及“Oh, Diu”以霓虹灯的形式展现；大型书法旁的投影机播放杨诘苍书写过程及朗读所写的文字；及其他另两件霓虹灯作品。作品中对书法线条的重视以及对色彩的缩减既强调了激进主义的层面，又暗示了道教的美学及其自我修身和自我升华的哲理。这里所推崇的激进主义的自我修身也表现了艺术家对每一个变化都必须从自我开始的信仰。大型霓虹书法“Artists continue to try hard” (艺术家还要再努力 )是艺术家创作的系列作品《100% Permission by…》中的一部分。这个系列重新阐释了其他艺术家所创作的作品，比如这件作品重释了Roberto Martinez。将其他艺术家的作品融入自己的创作并将他们转化为自己的概念和计划的一部分，变化就将能够从杨诘苍个人扩展到一个更大的群体。