Visually influenced by advertisement and today’s consumerism, Yang Mian produces an artistic universe that, though it looks superficial, is nevertheless not in the least naive. It features, what he terms, Chinese Standards. Proto-typical advertisement images of traditional beauties are appropriated and short-circuited, producing objects that are immediately recognizable and easy to navigate. But the icons in the images come without context. And the upper surface of the paintings appears to be wrapped in a dense mist to the point where the motives seem to disappear on the canvas. Finally, we are made to realize that the ’Chinese standards’ on display invite our projections only to throw them back on us: the artist uses the strongest cultural clichés to produce an aesthetic universe that forces us beyond the visuals depicted. He reflects the media imagery through which these portraits emerge in the popular culture. Just like posters advertising film or photographs, these canvases express an idealization. At the same time, they reveal through an immediate language, the interpretation of painting as an analysis that is self-referential. Additionally, all the Chinese Standards have been marked via a horizontal brushstroke, a sort of crossing out, that threatens to negate its own image.
Yang Mian also examines standards of urban architecture among other subjects. By contrasting and correlating history and society in different urban contexts, he draws the public into an open discussion of urban and cultural issues. His work embraces several mediums and fields - architecture, installation and sculpture - and initiates a dialogue between the artist and the public.
Yang Mian was born in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China, in 1970. He graduated from the Department of Oil Painting, Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts, Chongqing, China, in 1997. In 1998 he was received the Contemporary Chinese Art Award from the Chinese Contemporary Art Association. Selected solo and group exhibitions include Montpellier/Chine: MC1 Biennale International, Montpellier, France (2005), Mahjong, Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland (2005), Yang Mian 2003’s Beauty Standards, Xiantiandi, Shanghai, China (2004) and Made in Beijing - Standard for Building in an Ideal Residential Zone, Red Gate Gallery, Beijing, China (2004).
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