Image rights: Photo: courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2013-14
Lent by a private collection, New York
About Huang Yan
With works rife with references to Chinese history and cultural traditions, Huang Yan honors the values of his country’s past while exploring their place within contemporary China. Among his best-known projects is his “Chinese Landscapes” series, begun in 1999. Combining photography, painting, and body art, it features color photographs of himself and others covered not with clothing but with landscape paintings executed in the traditional style. While transposing such paintings onto the nude body—a taboo subject not incorporated into Chinese art until the 1970s—may be seen as radical, for Huang it illustrates an urgent message. In all of his work, he aims to remind his fellow citizens of the preciousness of China’s artistic, philosophical, and social heritage. “Landscape is […] my resistance against worldly conflicts and a way of releasing my Chan ideas,” he once stated.
Chinese, b. 1966, Jilin Province, China, based in Beijing, China