Huang Yan, ‘Dreaming - Terra-Cotta Warrior’, 2006, IFAC Arts
Huang Yan, ‘Dreaming - Terra-Cotta Warrior’, 2006, IFAC Arts
Huang Yan, ‘Dreaming - Terra-Cotta Warrior’, 2006, IFAC Arts

"Dreaming-Terra-Cotta Warrior" (2006) is a powerful photograph and self-portrait by famous Chinese conceptual artist Huang Yan. Huang here has his face painted white to make it a blank canvas, then has dynamic imagery in black and white of another figure superimposed on his visage--one of a famous Chinese Qin Dynasty terra-cotta warrior figures, painted here in a kneeling position literally overtake the artist's visage, making facial features such as eyes, nose and mouth disappear. This photograph is not just clever, the concept of giving up his identity in a self-portrait and instead using his face as an anonymous human canvas grounds the work.

The work is unframed and in pristine condition and is the formal AP from the edition.

In 1999, Huang Yan began a series of color photographs entitled "Chinese Landscapes" – traditional images and landscapes painted directly on the skin of a human body. Yan’s artworks encapsulate a synthesis of Chinese traditional heritage and the contemporary world. The human body and skin itself becomes a piece of paper as Huang Yan paints, leading us to question whether the subject of his work is the body or the painting. Is it a painted body, or a landscape, or both?

Huang Yan (b. 1966, China) is a major figure in Chinese Contemporary art. His signature technique, the photography of the painting of the human body (frequently his own) with traditional Chinese landscapes and allegorical scenes, has made its mark on world photography over the past decade. His works are in the top Museum and Private Collections spanning from Asia, Europe, the U.K and US.

Signature: Signed, inscribed, and dated, with edition AP in graphite in margins.

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

Group Shows

New York,
Body, Self, Society: Chinese Performance Photography of the 1990s
T+H Gallery, 
Masters Projects, 
Stare Into The Rising Sun (Editions by Contemporary Asian Art Stars)

Fair History on Artsy

Galerıe Blue Square at Art Paris 2014