Yu Youhan's creative career is long and varied. Since the self-enlightenment of modernity, he has never been satisfied with the practice of one-dimensional subjects. In the early 1980s, he pioneered the abstract ethos in Shanghai with friends; in the late 1980s, he interpreted local historical contexts and realistic images in a flat, decorative and humorous language; after the pop series won international attention, in the mid-to-late 1990s, he turned to depict our living beings in a period of social change; at the beginning of the new century, he rediscovered the connection with the land, landscape, and nature by sketching, resumed his abstract creation, and began to move back and forth between abstract and figurative.
The change of form is not an absolute criterion for measuring an artist, and the intrinsic value of the work depends on the individual's originality in response to the times and the extent to which it reveals the eternal presence. The essence of this is as the writer Fei Ming said when discussing literature, that each new work "must be the same as a new ball, with a uniform radius from the sphere to the center". For Yu, the center of the sphere is the spiritual core of "Tao". Throughout his entire creation, the vigorous vitality is always revealed in the brushstrokes, colors, and composition, which is honest, ingenious, and not constrained by the concept. Specifically, his style based on "composition" not only absorbs foreign influences from Cézanne to American Abstract Expressionism but also includes a conscious retrospect of traditions such as Stone Drum Script, painted pottery, stone relief, the residence of south Chinese, and so on. Ultimately, through the Circle series, he evolved a free-will-like brushstroke that followed the fundamental movements of the universe.
The title of the exhibition Eternity and Variety comes from Yu's self-statement: "In the picture, I try to unite the opposites of simplicity and wisdom, quietness and vividness, eternity and change, and nothingness and existence." It presents more than 50 of his works from different periods, and artist Shi Yong serves as the curator. The selection of the works connects the structure of the scene, with 4 chapters, corresponding to Yu’s rich and profound artistic world.