YU Youhan is a pure painter. From the 1960s until today, he has been concentrating on art creation for nearly 50 years, with painting being the one and only means, while reflecting on self, art history as well as contemporary time. Concerning style and themes, his artworks transform in a development cycle from abstract art to Pop Art and landscapes and today once again returning to abstract art. This small-scale exhibition, Yu Youhan's Paintings, presents us mainly abstract and Pop art works by the artist.
In 1981, YU Youhan began his earliest works of abstract art, such as Black and White Nr.1, Purple Totem as well as Slow Moving. In 1985, YU Youhan completed his series entitled Circle, which marked the formation of his abstract painting style. The repeated dots, in different permutations and combinations, together with lines and irregular color patches arranged in a certain order, endowed the artworks with a pure aesthetic pleasure. In his subsequent creations, this kind of pureness at the same time introduced an abundant form meaning. What we identify from the arbitrary, automatic and dribble look is the experience of modern abstract expressionism. Meanwhile, the refined concepts which blend, flow and infiltrate into each other seem lying in alignment with "Taoism" in traditional Chinese culture. From the end of the 1980s to 1990, however, the artist detached himself from secularity and entered another different creation stage, where he produced a large number of Pop Art whose straightforward performance featured idolatry and catered to the public. One of the most representative artists of Pop Art, YU Youhan expressed once during an interview: On one hand, he worshiped idol and resisted overly radical critique; on the other hand, he also clearly recognized the risk of demonizing an idol. Hence, he took this kind of folk performance and narrative approach in order to compose his picture in a fairly unrestricted and neutral manner. Even though born in the 1940s, he maintains a clear and independent view on Western and Chinese contemporary art on his own. In his series, A Pocket Western Art History about Mao, he placed the images of Chairman Mao along with Western art canons for the fictionalization of a collective idolization in modern Western art history. YU Youhan stands to question the conceptualization of contemporary art and strives for art practice by the only means of paintings. His large number of paintings as well as his variety of manifestations are an integral part of contemporary Chinese art.