Longmen Art Projects is pleased to announce its participation in Art Basel Hong Kong at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center from March 24th to 26th, 2016. Located in booth 3D42 of the fair’s Insights section, Longmen Art Projects will feature a single-artist presentation of works by contemporary Chinese artist, Ye Yongqing, titled Overgrown Garden, or “Qian Zi Yuan” (芊子園).
The exhibit highlights three sets of multi-panel works on canvas, each set consisting of 4 panels for a total of 12 panels of landscape paintings, one abstract, an iconic Draw a Bird, and a hand- drawn album of paintings and poetry. What sets this series apart from his earlier Paint Dots and Draw a Bird series is that Ye Yongqing composes these works by splitting each image onto four panels and displays them out of sequence, further distorting the image into different visual formations with renewed hidden messages within.
Overgrown Garden (Qian Zi Yuan) alludes to the classical Chinese Mustard Seed Garden (Jie zi Yuan Driving 芥子园画 谱), which allows one to see but not necessarily learn. It is a dreamland, a secret garden for Ye Yongqing through which he has been contemplating since 2010. Completed in 2012 and 2014, respectively, Ye’s Ocher and Hidden in the Grass series marked the beginnings of a new era of artistic creation:
“Created by paintings, Overgrown Garden is a secret garden that is overflowing with weeds and grass; a wild and unkempt grassy field, a place of solitude, where the heart calls home. It’s not just a scene or landscape, but a means for quiet introspection and reflection”. Using his familiar motif of small, intricate, criss-crossing strokes to stitch together broader strokes on the seemingly bare canvas, Ye constructs a dichotomy of Western expression and Chinese literati sentiments. From afar, the strokes comes together to portray a freehand sketch of birds and landscapes; it is only upon close inspection that the viewer realizes the artist’s persistent and strenuous methods to appreciate his overwhelming repetitive tenacity.
As one of the most influential figures in Chinese contemporary art, Ye Yongqing’s art always takes its own path in between Modernism and Contemporary. His expression is a destruction of aesthetics rooted on a deeper level of contradictions: true or false, East or West, near or afar, still or in motion. From a visual and subconscious perspective, his works transcends time and region.
Although most Chinese modernists experienced a drastic change following the tragic events of 1989, Ye Yongqing remained firm in his attitude. He admitted “I did not break away due to the
￼events of 1989; I stayed true to the cultural goal. As much as we repeatedly talked about Post ’89 Art and post-modernism, I always felt sad because I knew there was no longer room for intellectualism”.
Ye Yongqing is a poet and a true Chinese intellectual. He has infused Chinese literati poetry into his paintings since the very beginning of his career, allowing poetry to penetrate his images. Western interpretations of art, therefore, will struggle to find the underlying truth within Ye’s works. Chinese contemporary art is undergoing a new change; no matter how complicated and unintelligible, we can be sure that we need a genuine, artist-friendly living environment, a traditional cultural background, and art rooted in a spiritually-fertilized environment.
Overgrown Garden is the epitome of a state of mind, a secret place where Ye Yongqing seeks and
￼studies the genealogy of inspirations.