A traditional Chinese garden is supposed to incorporate opposing forms - natural and artificial, fluid and solid, domestic and worldly - and balance them harmoniously. In recent years, two dichotomies have expanded in importance - traditional and contemporary, and old and new. Yang does not seek to reconcile any opposites. His computer processed photographs presents the clash baldly, hilariously.
In the action work, Happy Birthday (Agreed to the date 26 Nov. 1994 as a reason), Yang sculpted a cake inscribed with the date Nov 26, 1994. Armed with the cake and other birthday paraphernalia, he went to a cemetery in search of a person who was born on Nov 26th. At the grave site of a man who was born on that date, he held a birthday party.
Happy Birthday, along with work by Zhang Peili and other contemporary artists, appeared on a television program broadcast in 1996. The show was aired nationally, a first for contemporary art in China. Maybe the government opposition to contemporary art is softening, or as artists warily judge, the broadcast was an isolated act of bravery by the show's producers.
Tomorrow London takes an art break. After nearly three weeks in crowded cities, she wants to take a ride in the countryside and see a Chinese village.